The culture at SIL-UND is one of the reasons people keep coming back. We have so many different backgrounds that people come from, but they all come for the linguistics.  That means, we are nerds at heart.  People come to us not fully able to express their nerdiness at home and find the escape they need.  People at SIL-UND just get it. Check out some specifics on our culture below.

Our regular housing is all together: with teachers and other staff living alongside the students.  This creates great community and allows us to pick their minds at all hours of the night.

Child care is available and fun for the kids. Everyone is trained how to live the summer with children safely to make SIL a fun and educational place for your kids.

Diverse people, there is more cultural interaction in our residence hall than in your whole hometown.  Your teachers and some of your classmates will have spent the rest of the year traveling world-wide discovering new things about other languages, cultures, and people. Then they come to North Dakota and share with us what they found out.  And they want to hear your stories, too.  Even a student who has never left their state has something to offer to the mix.

A typical day in the life of an SILer is full of knowledge and wonder.

Skit nights are an SIL tradition.  Loved by all linguistic nerds – full of puns and language humor that your friends back home just don’t understand.

Nerds aren’t typically active, but we embrace the North Dakota summer “outdoor living” lifestyle.  Our volleyball tournament is loved by all.  Whether you’re playing or watching, it’s always a good time.  The teachers and students alike team up to blow off study blues.

We have a Picnic every year.  This event is held at a local park where we play games and eat food.  There’s volleyball, of course, and Frisbee.  But then we have the classics: a three-legged race, log toss, water balloon toss, etc.  This is a way to bring the whole SIL community together to enjoy a Saturday afternoon of no studying.


Each year we have a friendly T-shirt contest.  Members of the program submit new linguistic puns and SIL-UND ideas to be voted on for “this year’s” t-shirt.  It’s a good way to remember the summer and a great way to confuse people back home.

T-shirts of years past worn by our very own models.

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Working hard; playing hard: we play hard, but we work hard. We analyze real data and solve real language problems. We find out things about languages that no one has discovered before.

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