Residence Life at Reed

Division of Student Life

Language Houses

In conjunction with faculty, the residence life office supports six language houses that represent six modern languages: French, German, Russian, Spanish, Chinese, and Arabic. While Arabic House is open to incoming students, only returning students may apply to live in the other language houses. 

Each house is staffed with a language scholar, who is a native speaker hired to support language development in and out of the house. A student house adviser is also responsible for working with the area coordinator, faculty, and language house residents to make each house a center for language and culture for the entire campus. Each house sponsors a variety of programs during the year that enhance the opportunity to learn about the various languages and cultures each house represents. 

Application Information for Language Houses
(Returning students only)

Language Scholars

Reed College brings eight language scholars to campus each year. Each language house is supported by at least one language scholar who is a native speaker of one of the six languages (French, Spanish, German, Russian, Chinese, and Arabic).

These scholars live in Reed's language houses to support the learning of language and understanding of other cultures both in the halls and classrooms. In addition to coordinating educational programs in the house, scholars are often involved in sponsoring conversation sessions, tutoring students to assist regular coursework, and giving presentations to the community on contemporary life in their places of origin.

Expectations of Language House Residents

Students who live in each language house are expected to participate in weekly programming opportunities by attending or collaborating on events with their house advisers and language scholars. Residents are not required to be fluent in the language or enrolled in current coursework related to the language, but a demonstrated interest in and desire to learn about the culture and language is a prerequisite. The houses form tight-knit communities that depend on good communication and active participation. Enrolled students can view the floor plans for each house (French, Spanish, German, Russian, and Chinese) online.

Applying to Language Houses

To apply to live in the houses, students must submit an essay in the housing portal during room registration and address the following prompt:

  • Please describe your experience with the language and/or culture of the house, specific ways in which you plan to contribute to the success of house goals, and what you hope to get out of living in a Language House.
You might also consider the following questions:
  • How have you been involved with events (weekly cultural events, all-campus events, conversation hour) at the house and how will you contribute to the house if you live in it next year?
  • Why are you interested in living in this specific language house and how will this community benefit you?

NOTE: essays must be written in English, as the housing portal does not accept non-English or accented characters.

After applications for language houses close, the application essays are reviewed by current house advisers, language scholars, and connected faculty. Students who are accepted are guaranteed a bed in the language house but must still log into the housing portal during their time slot to select a bed and sign a contract. Each house also has a list of alternates, who are ordered by the application reviewers. Alternates will be contacted by the residence life office as spaces open up.