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Study Abroad Research in Second Language Acquisition and International Education

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ISSN 2405-5522
E-ISSN 2405-5530

Reflecting the growth of international exchange programmes in an educational context, Study Abroad Research in Second Language Acquisition and International Education has as its focus the role of study abroad in language learning and educational development. In the area of language learning, articles explore all facets of second language acquisition during study abroad such as the nature of linguistic development, input engagement and interaction, and the role of contextual, social and socio-biographical factors underpinning the learner’s experience abroad. The journal also explores issues beyond the linguistic, such as the relationship between study abroad and academic, professional, personal and social development. A complementary area of focus is educational policy and planning issues in study abroad exchange programmes within international education. The journal publishes peer-reviewed articles, thematic issues, invited state-of-the-art articles, and short squibs and research reports.


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  • The language use, attitudes, and motivation of Chinese students prior to a semester-long sojourn in an English-speaking environment
    • Author: Jane Jackson
    • Source: Study Abroad Research in Second Language Acquisition and International Education, Volume 1, Issue 1, 2016, pages: 4 –33
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    • Second language acquisition scholars have long recognized that language attitudes and motivation can play a critical role in second language (L2) learning, leading to variations in willingness to communicate (WTC) and initiate interactions in that language. This paper reports on the pre-sojourn phase of a mixed-method study that investigated the language and intercultural learning of 149 Chinese students from a Hong Kong university who participated in a semester-long exchange program in an English-speaking country. By way of a questionnaire survey, document analysis (e.g., study plans), and in-depth interviews, the first phase examined their pre-sojourn language use, attitudes, and motivation, as well as their aims, expectations, and concerns about their impending study and residence in the host environment. Studies of this nature are essential to provide direction for pre-sojourn orientations and other interventions that can support and optimize the language enhancement and intercultural engagement of outgoing L2 international exchange students.

  • Personality changes after the ‘year abroad’?
    • Authors: Nicole Tracy-Ventura, Jean-Marc Dewaele, Zeynep Köylü, and Kevin McManus
    • Source: Study Abroad Research in Second Language Acquisition and International Education, Volume 1, Issue 1, 2016, pages: 107 –127
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    • This study utilizes a mixed-methods approach to investigate personality changes of British undergraduate students who spent their third year abroad in a French or Spanish-speaking country. Personality changes were measured quantitatively using the Multicultural Personality Questionnaire (MPQ, Van der Zee & Van Oudenhoven, 2000; 2001), administered twice: pre-departure and after returning to their home university. A reflective interview was also conducted at the end of their stay abroad and analysed qualitatively to investigate whether students noted any personality changes. The MPQ results demonstrate statistically significant changes over time on the Emotional Stability factor only. These results are supported by the reflective interviews as 77% of participants mentioned feeling more confident and independent after residence abroad. Based on these findings, residence abroad appears to be an example of a type of social investment with the potential to positively affect the emotional stability of university students undertaking the experience as temporary sojourners.

  • The short-term homestay as a context for language learning
    • Authors: Celeste Kinginger, Qian Wu, Sheng-Hsun Lee, and Dali Tan
    • Source: Study Abroad Research in Second Language Acquisition and International Education, Volume 1, Issue 1, 2016, pages: 34 –60
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    • The study abroad home stay is often credited with particular value for language and culture learning. While living with host families, students are believed to observe and to participate in a wide range of everyday practices while upgrading their language proficiency and intercultural awareness. However, in quantitative studies of college-aged students abroad, the putative home stay advantage has been notoriously difficult to prove, perhaps in part because these students are interpreted by all parties (including themselves) as relatively independent young adults whose goals need not align with those of their hosts. Research examining the experiences of high school students has to date relied largely on self-report data suggesting that younger students are likely to be received as temporary family members, although this reception does not guarantee a productive language-learning environment. Based on field notes, audio recordings of conversational interactions, and interviews with both students and host family members, in this article we present three case studies, grounded in sociocultural theory and illustrating a range of experiences in a short-term summer homestay immersion program for American high school students in China. Our findings suggest that relatively advanced initial proficiency offers many advantages for interaction with hosts, but that students with modest initial proficiency can also develop warm and cordial relationships in the homestay if all parties are so predisposed. The inclusion of host family perspectives, heretofore relatively rare in the literature, also permits consideration of the homestay as a context for learning for all parties.

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