The Three Pillars

Language Commitment

As part of the Honor Code, students commit to speaking the host language for the entirety of the stay — nearly seven weeks. While the Language Commitment enables students to think, dream and speak in the foreign language, it is perhaps the most challenging aspect of the Honor Code. The Language Commitment is key to achieving optimal linguistic gains and fundamental to the total immersion environment of the Program.

"The Program offers a goal for a select number of students, which motivates them to work harder at acquiring language skills. The students who attend return to school in the fall as an inspiration to the next generation of IU Honors participants and also set a higher standard for language proficiency among their peers. It is fun to teach the students who have returned from this experience because they have so much to offer the other students through the sharing of their experiences!" Leslie Phillips, Spanish Teacher at Park Tudor High School, Indianapolis & former Iuhpfl instructor

By pledging the Language Commitment, IUHPFL students agree to:

  • Speak only the foreign language at all times: Inside and outside of school, with other students of the Program, with their host families, and with any and all individuals in the host culture. Due to the complexity of the Chinese language, China-bound students follow a modified language commitment.
  • Significantly limit communication with their family and friends back home: Students are permitted to call home once, upon their arrival to the host country. No other calls to friends or family may be made without the permission of the onsite student coordinator. Exceptions are made in emergency situations.
  • Limit access to the Internet to one consecutive hour a week, using that hour to communicate with friends and family. Students can use either their native language during this hour, or the foreign language; the choice is theirs.

Students must understand that agreeing to forfeit speaking English (and their native language, if their native language is not English) in favor of speaking the foreign language at all times is no easy feat. However, successful participants achieve language skills that far surpass results from regular classroom settings and often catapult language capabilities to a fifth semester college level.*

If accepted into the IUHPFL, students receive helpful tips on how to maintain the Language Commitment during Orientation and the IUHPFL Pre-Departure Handbook.

*According to research conducted at Indiana University, Bloomington.