MLL’s unique Language Houses, a foreign-language immersion experience right on our campus, had to close down after Spring Break just like all other residential buildings. Daily life in another language, the countless small exchanges and learning moments that occur as students interact with each other and with the respective International Fellow, came to a halt. However, not all activities had to be cancelled! After a short adjustment, our Fellows began offering conversation hours and grammar tutoring via Zoom, and organized film watching events, game nights, and cooking evenings, all done remotely but sustaining the language learning community nonetheless.
Live cooking classes, e.g., taught us that our cultures have more in common than we may think. A student shared the recipe for Indian Rice Pudding, or “rice phirni/kheer”, to show its similarity to “horchata.” There was also a “trilingual” tomato sauce pasta class, co-hosted by the Italian and Hispanic Houses, at which the IFs introduced students from different programs and learned comparative vocabulary. At several cooking evenings, students’ family members helped out, sometimes tasting and judging a course. And best of all, we got to meet not only each other’s family members, but also the family pets!