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10-08-19-kings-court-english-college-house-kcech-kylie-cooper

All first years in the Huntsman Program live in Kings Court English College House.

Credit: Kylie Cooper

By bringing together a group of students with diverse interests in languages and cultures from around the globe, the third floor of Kings Court English College House, tucked away on the edge of campus, is a hub for global diversity on campus.

The third floor of Kings Court English College House is the residential home for all first years in the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business. Students in the Huntsman Program earn two degrees: one in a "target" language and area studies from the College of Arts and Sciences, and one in economics from the Wharton School. With the exception of those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, all Huntsman students study abroad for one semester where they can apply their language skills and area studies training.

Huntsman sophomore Julie Espinal is from El Salvador with a target language of French. While the pandemic prevented Espinal and the other Huntsman first-year students from living on the same floor last semester, they were still able to live in Kings Court English College House across multiple floors.

Espinal said that living in Kings Court English College House was an enriching experience, recalling that she was able to practice speaking French with multiple native speakers in the dorm.

“It's nice that in the program itself you have people that are native speakers of the language you're targeting,” Espinal said. “I also really enjoyed the exposure to the many different cultures. I learned so much about people's customs and the way of life back home.”

Espinal said she met students from countries including Azerbaijan, Mexico, Peru, and the United Kingdom. She also recalled celebrating Chinese New Year with her Huntsman peers at Dim Sum House and then playing traditional Chinese New Year games back in the dorm. 

Huntsman sophomore Tracy Zhang similarly found the diversity of nationalities and the accessibility of practicing her target language of Korean a unique aspect of living in Kings Court English College House.

“I'm super passionate about learning different languages,” Zhang said. “So I think I valued that, and it's not something I'm really getting on a regular basis right now, because I'm no longer living in Kings Court English College House.”

While not known for its social life like the Quad or newly renovated facilities like Hill College House, Kings Court English College House is what the first years in the Huntsman Program call their home away from home.

“Part of the appeal of the Huntsman Program was to be able to have a solid friend group the moment I walked on campus,” Huntsman sophomore Gabriela Garity said. “It was definitely conducive to a tight community, and I became close friends with people that I definitely would not have otherwise if I had just lived in the Quad.”

Although Huntsman first year Alexander Zhou was initially “bummed” to not be living in the Quad, he said that living in Kings Court English College House has “surpassed his highest expectations.”

“Usually our doors are always open, and we're just kind of in and out of each other's rooms, hanging out,” Zhou said. “Or if we want to go to Center City, then we'll go with each other. I feel like we’re one large friend group.”

Zhou added that he can feel comfortable knowing that there is always a community for him back at Kings Court English College House, but acknowledged that one disadvantage of the College House is that the dorm, located at 36th and Sansom streets, is farther away from the center of campus than other College Houses.

“It can be a hassle sometimes, especially if I'm running late to a class,” Zhou said. 

But because of the dorm's slightly removed location, Zhou found it to be conducive for a tight-knit, collaborative community where students can easily befriend each other.

Garity added that Kings Court English College House has amenities such as a game room with ping pong tables, a movie room, a library, and a dining hall that reopened this semester. There is also a courtyard outside with a pond and foliage, where Garity said she likes to study. 

“I think overall, it's a unique experience that pretty much no other program, or at least that I know of, has,” Zhang said. 

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