In Their Own Words: Language Houses at UVA


Why are we unique?

The Shea House provides approximately 75 students at the University of Virginia the unique opportunity to live for an academic year in an environment of language immersion in American Sign Language (ASL), Arabic, Chinese, German, Japanese, Korean, or Russian. Modeled after similar houses for other languages, the Shea House serves as the cultural and linguistic center at UVA for seven of the richest and most widely spoken languages of Asia and the Middle East. Each year there will be a number of cultural events put on at the Shea House in collaboration with faculty from the Department of East Asian Languages, Literatures and Cultures (DEALLC), Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures (MESALC) and from the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures. Whether joking with friends, sharing meals, keeping a journal, discussing films, or discussing politics, students living at the Shea House will have one of the finest opportunities available at a North American university to deepen their experience of these vital languages and cultures.

The Shea House is open to any full-time student at the University of Virginia who can demonstrate at least a first-year competency in one of the relevant languages. Although priority is given to students taking classes in the eight languages, the House is also open to international students and to heritage students who can demonstrate the necessary linguistic proficiency. Although the default inter-floor language is English, students carry on their daily activities within their language pods. Acceptance to Shea House will be based on an application completed by the student and evaluated by a committee consisting of faculty members of UVA's Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures, Department of Slavic Languages and Cultures for Russian, and Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese, for Italian. Applications are currently available online and in print. For further information contact Tomoko Marshall, Director of the Shea House.

Where are we located?

Our official mailing address is: 400 Monroe Lane, Charlottesville, VA 22903

The Shea House is located at the corner of Jefferson Park Avenue and Monroe Lane, across from the Student Health Center. Along with the already existing Casa Bolivar and La Maison Francaise, the Shea House is one of the foundations of the Language Precinct at UVA., and it is a convenient five-minute walk from Central Grounds and The Lawn. Here is the map (we are object 29).

Living in Shea House

This year (2023-2024) Shea house hosts six residential pods, one each for ASL, Chinese, German, Japanese, Korean, and Russian. Each block houses a Language Assistant, a fluent speaker of the language (typically a native speaker), who organizes a weekly language corner as well as other cultural events. Entry to the building is on the ground floor, with an elevator for residents' convenience. Both single-occupancy and double-occupancy rooms are available, and the cost per bed is similar to that for other focused-housing on Grounds. Students living in the Shea House are provided with full laundry facilities, central heating and air conditioning, high-speed Wifi connections in each room, and spacious common areas. Food is provided by ARAMARK and is available through one of the University's meal plans. The Shea House also provides cuisine from all of its cultures. Residents also have an in-house kitchen to cook for themselves. In addition to the house's ground-floor dining area, patio dining is available on a terrace located between the Shea House and neighboring Casa Bolivar.

Shea House Resident Guide and Contract 2023 - 2024