At Dwelling Overseas Home: an mental and cultural crossroads

Performances of Renaissance music might be heard from the widespread space of Stanford’s At Dwelling Overseas (AHA) Home throughout a Thursday night seminar. Simply half an hour in the past, college students sat on the Italian language desk for a energetic dialogue with conventional meals and dessert. 

Positioned inside Yost at Governor’s Nook, AHA is an mental and cultural crossroads the place residents discover languages and cultures by way of a variety of actions together with seminars and energetic discussions over dinner. 

The College created AHA for the 2021-22 tutorial 12 months as a mix of La Casa Italiana, La Maison Française (French Home) and Slavianskii Dom. Because the legacy of earlier cultural themed homes, the AHA Home continues to interact college students in transcultural studying and foster a various neighborhood.  

Cultural immersion

The AHA Home hosts weekly Russian, Italian and French language tables the place college students converse in respective languages over dinner. The in-house meal plan permits for particular cultural dinners focused to the language that’s being spoken at a desk. 

The aim of the language tables is for folks to follow languages whereas additionally having fun with meals, in line with AHA Affiliated Graduate Pupil Fellow Evan Alterman, who runs the Russian desk. It’s also a manner “to forge a neighborhood” amongst college students who’re excited about Slavic, Francophone and Italian languages and cultures, Alterman added.  “Everyone seems to be welcome,” he stated.

Alterman believes that language is likely one of the major means by which individuals get to know others and their cultures. “It places folks in a very totally different mindset and creates a way of empathy, which is extremely essential for cementing our understanding of different cultures,” he stated. 

Apart from the language tables, the AHA Home hosts off-campus excursions, movie screenings and resident-led actions. Affiliate Director for the Heart for Russian, East European and Eurasian Research and AHA Resident Fellow Jovana Lazić Knežević has taught college students about vital points and international affairs in lecture rooms settings, however she stated that “one thing actually particular occurs in areas exterior of the classroom” and out of doors of conventional tutorial environments.

The home additionally brings collectively college students who’re excited about overseas languages and cultures and worldwide points, in line with Knežević. Reasonably than being an area solely for college kids who communicate a overseas language or main in a single, she stated that AHA needs “a neighborhood of people who find themselves curious concerning the world.” 

Mental immersion

The home gives weekly seminars all through the educational 12 months that fall beneath the Division of Literatures, Cultures and Languages and Stanford World Research Division. Whereas residents who utilized to reside in AHA earlier than the overall housing project course of started are required to take part within the seminars, they’re open to all undergraduate college students. 

Throughout fall quarter, the seminar targeted on worldwide movie collection, and the winter quarter seminar facilities round numerous artwork types and different international media, genres and venues. College students await spring quarter’s multicultural cooking class. 

“There’s a bit of bit much less of a concentrate on studying literacy in numerous media in a standard classroom,” stated Maria Massucco, one other AHA Affiliated Graduate Pupil Fellow and one of many instructors of the seminar. “By the course, we provide college students contact, publicity and follow alternatives to ensure that whereas they’re getting the well-rounded training at Stanford, they’re additionally contemplating the significance of multisensory literacy.” 

Having the ability to learn photographs, describe sounds and interact with the world in a tactile manner are not any much less necessary than different components in training, in line with Massucco. “It’s a distinct type of instructing from something I’ve ever finished,” she added. 

Whereas Nikhil Lyles ’24 didn’t initially join the category, he was capable of attend as a resident of the home — an expertise that he stated he loved. 

“The category is a good expertise to be uncovered to totally different cultures that I wouldn’t have heard about or been uncovered to in any other case,” Lyles stated.


For True Sweetser ’21 M.A. ’22, being a Resident Assistant (RA) in Yost has been the most effective experiences he has had at Stanford. “The neighborhood right here is just not solely strong, however energetic, entertaining, shut and supportive past my expectations,” Sweetser stated. 

Lyles additionally expressed appreciation for the range of the AHA neighborhood. He added that he enjoys the actions led by the RAs, weekly seminars and distinctive meals that he’s capable of get pleasure from with different residents. “There’s all the time one thing to look ahead to,” he stated.

To Sweetser, the keenness that a variety of college students have for the AHA theme and for hanging out with each other in a home atmosphere creates a way of neighborhood. 

“It’s been good to see the confluence of the residents and their totally different backgrounds, concepts and pursuits come collectively,” he stated.

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