Volume 1, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2405-5522
  • E-ISSN: 2405-5530
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes


The present study investigates individual differences in study abroad through a quantitative analysis of U.S. learners of Spanish studying in Barcelona, Spain (n = 54). While many studies have aimed at discussing one or two specific items, the present study combines aspects of attitude, motivation, and language contact with perceived gains in language skill by examining answers from a comprehensive questionnaire designed to accurately gather information on these individual differences. The data reveal that these study abroad students are highly motivated, and correlational analyses establish significant positive relationships between integrative orientations, attitude, language contact and self-reported perceived gains in linguistic skills. The study suggests that a positive attitude towards the target language and integrative motivation can be important factors in influencing how much contact students have with the target language and how much they feel they have improved in a variety of language skills. It also explores the potential effects of learning a language in a bilingual context and calls for further research on this theme.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Allen, H.W
    (2010) Language-learning motivation during short-term study abroad: An activity theory perspective. Foreign Language Annals, 43(1), 27–49. doi: 10.1111/j.1944‑9720.2010.01058.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1944-9720.2010.01058.x [Google Scholar]
  2. (2013) Self-regulatory strategies of foreign language learners. In C. Kinginger (Ed.), Social and cultural aspects of language learning in study abroad (pp.47–73). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi: 10.1075/lllt.37.03wil
    https://doi.org/10.1075/lllt.37.03wil [Google Scholar]
  3. Amuzie, G.L. , & Winke, P
    (2009) Changes in language learning beliefs as a result of study abroad. System, 37(3), 366–379. doi: 10.1016/j.system.2009.02.011
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2009.02.011 [Google Scholar]
  4. Back, M
    (2013) Using Facebook data to analyze learner interaction during study abroad. Foreign Language Annals, 46(3), 377–401. doi: 10.1111/flan.12036
    https://doi.org/10.1111/flan.12036 [Google Scholar]
  5. Brecht, R. , Davidson, D. , & Ginsberg, R
    (1995) Predicting and measuring language gains in study abroad settings. In B.F. Freed (Ed.), Second language acquisition in a study abroad context (pp.37–66). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi: 10.1075/sibil.9.05bre
    https://doi.org/10.1075/sibil.9.05bre [Google Scholar]
  6. Brown, L
    (2009) An ethnographic study of the friendship patterns of international students in England: An attempt to recreate home through conational interaction. International Journal of Educational Research, 48, 184–193. doi: 10.1016/j.ijer.2009.07.003
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijer.2009.07.003 [Google Scholar]
  7. Coleman, J
    (1996) A comparative survey of the proficiency and progress of language learners in British universities. In R. Grotjahn (Ed.), Der C-Test: Theoretische Grundlagen und praktische Anwendungen, 3, 367–399.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. (2013) Researching whole people and whole lives. In C. Kinginger (Ed.), Social and cultural aspects of language learning in study abroad (pp.17–44). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi: 10.1075/lllt.37.02col
    https://doi.org/10.1075/lllt.37.02col [Google Scholar]
  9. Coleman, J. , & Chafer, T
    (2011) The experience and long-term impact of study abroad by Europeans in an African context. In F. Dervin (Ed.), Analysing the consequences of academic mobility and migration (pp.67–96). Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. DeKeyser, R
    (2007) Study abroad as foreign language practice. In R. DeKeyser (Ed.), Practicing in a second language. Perspectives from Applied Linguistics and cognitive psychology (pp.208–226). New York: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511667275.012
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511667275.012 [Google Scholar]
  11. (2010) Monitoring processes in Spanish as a second language during a study abroad program. Foreign Language Annals, 43(1), 80–92. doi: 10.1111/j.1944‑9720.2010.01061.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1944-9720.2010.01061.x [Google Scholar]
  12. (2014) Research on language development during study abroad: Methodological considerations and future perspectives. In C. Pérez-Vidal (Ed.), Language acquisition in study abroad and formal instruction contexts (pp.313–325). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi: 10.1075/aals.13.16ch13
    https://doi.org/10.1075/aals.13.16ch13 [Google Scholar]
  13. Dewey, D.P
    (2008) Japanese vocabulary acquisition by learners in three contexts. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 15, 127–148.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Dewey, D.P. , Belnap, R.K. , & Hillstrom, R
    (2013) Social network development, language use, and language acquisition during study abroad: Arabic language learners’ perspectives. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 22, 84–110.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Dewey, D.P. , Bown, J. , & Eggett, D
    (2012) Japanese language proficiency, social networking, and language use during study abroad: Learners’ perspectives. The Canadian Modern Language Review, 68(2), 111–137. doi: 10.3138/cmlr.68.2.111
    https://doi.org/10.3138/cmlr.68.2.111 [Google Scholar]
  16. Dörnyei, Z
    (2001) Motivational strategies in the language classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511667343
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511667343 [Google Scholar]
  17. (2005) The psychology of the language learner: Individual differences in second language acquisition. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. (2009a) The L2 motivational self system. In Z. Dörnyei & E. Ushioda (Eds.), Motivation, language identity and the L2 self (pp.9–42). Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. (2009b) The psychology of second language acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. (2009c) Individual differences: Interplay of learner characteristics and learning environment. Language Learning, 59, 230–248. doi: 10.1111/j.1467‑9922.2009.00542.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9922.2009.00542.x [Google Scholar]
  21. Education Dynamics
    (2015) Study Abroad in Barcelona, Spain. Retrieved on29 January 2015fromwww.studyabroad.com/programs/europe,spain,barcelona+other,anzo+teguise,barcelona/default.aspx
  22. Farrugia, C.A. , Bhandari, R. , & Chow, P
    (2012) Open doors report on international educational exchange. New York: Institute of International Education.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Freed, B.F
    (1995) What makes us think that students who study abroad become fluent?In B.F. Freed (Ed.), Second language acquisition in a study abroad context (pp.123–148). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi: 10.1075/sibil.9.09fre
    https://doi.org/10.1075/sibil.9.09fre [Google Scholar]
  24. Freed, B.F. , Dewey, D.P. , Segalowitz, N. , & Halter, R
    (2004a) The language contact profile. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 26(2), 349–356.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Freed, B.F. , Segalowitz, N. , & Dewey, D.P
    (2004b) Context of learning and second language fluency in French: Comparing regular classroom, study abroad, and intensive domestic immersion programs. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 26(2), 275–301.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Gardner, R.C
    (1985a) The Attitude/Motivation Test Battery: Technical report. London, Ontario: University of Western Ontario, Department of Psychology.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. (1985b) Social psychology and second language learning: The role of attitudes and motivation. London: Arnold.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. (2010) Motivation and second language acquisition: The socio-educational model. New York: Peter Lang.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Gardner, R.C. , & Lambert, W.E
    (1972) Attitudes and motivation in second-language learning. Cambridge, MA: Newbury House Publishers.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. George, A
    (2014) Study abroad in central Spain: The development of regional phonological features. Foreign Language Annals, 47(1), 97–114. doi: 10.1111/flan.12065
    https://doi.org/10.1111/flan.12065 [Google Scholar]
  31. Goldoni, F
    (2013) Students’ immersion experiences in study abroad. Foreign Language Annals, 46(3), 359–376. doi: 10.1111/flan.12047
    https://doi.org/10.1111/flan.12047 [Google Scholar]
  32. Hernández, T.A
    (2010) The relationship among motivation, interaction, and the development of second language oral proficiency in a study-abroad context. The Modern Language Journal, 94(4), 600–617. doi: 10.1111/j.1540‑4781.2010.01053.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-4781.2010.01053.x [Google Scholar]
  33. Howard, M
    (2012) The development of verb morphology in the advanced learner variety. A longitudinal study of L2 French. Chinese Journal of Applied Linguistics, 35(2), 153–174. doi: 10.1515/cjal‑2012‑0012
    https://doi.org/10.1515/cjal-2012-0012 [Google Scholar]
  34. IBM
    (2010) IBM SPSS Statistics (Version 21). Armonk, NY: IBM.
    [Google Scholar]
    (2015) Enquesta d’usos lingüístics de la població 2013. Barcelona: Institut d’Estadística de Catalunya.
    [Google Scholar]
  36. Isabelli-García, C
    (2006) Study abroad social networks, motivation and attitudes: Implications for second language acquisition. In E. Churchill & M. DuFon (Eds.), Language learners in study abroad contexts (pp.231–258). Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.
    [Google Scholar]
  37. (2010) Acquisition of Spanish gender agreement in two learning contexts: Study abroad and at home. Foreign Language Annals, 43(2), 289–303. doi: 10.1111/j.1944‑9720.2010.01079.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1944-9720.2010.01079.x [Google Scholar]
  38. Juan-Garau, M. , Salazar-Noguera, J. , & Prieto-Arranz, J.I
    (2014) English L2 learners’ lexico-grammatical and motivational development at home and abroad. In C. Pérez-Vidal (Ed.), Language acquisition in study abroad and formal instruction contexts (pp.235–258). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi: 10.1075/aals.13.12ch10
    https://doi.org/10.1075/aals.13.12ch10 [Google Scholar]
  39. Kinginger, C
    (2008) Language learning in study abroad: Case studies of Americans in France. Modern Language Journal, 92, 1–131. doi: 10.1111/j.1540‑4781.2008.00821.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-4781.2008.00821.x [Google Scholar]
  40. (2012) Language socialization in study abroad. In C. Chapelle (Ed.), The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
    [Google Scholar]
  41. Kormos, J. , & Csizér, K
    (2008) Age-related differences in the motivation of learning English as a foreign language: Attitudes, selves, and motivated learning behavior. Language Learning, 58(2), 327–355. doi: 10.1111/j.1467‑9922.2008.00443.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9922.2008.00443.x [Google Scholar]
  42. Kormos, J. , Csizér, K. , & Iwaniec, J
    (2013) A mixed-method study of language-learning motivation and intercultural contact of international students. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 35(2), 151–166. doi: 10.1080/01434632.2013.847940
    https://doi.org/10.1080/01434632.2013.847940 [Google Scholar]
  43. Lapkin, S. , Hart, D. , & Swain, M
    (1995) A Canadian interprovincial exchange: Evaluating the linguistic impact of a three-month stay in Quebec. In B.F. Freed (Ed.), Second language acquisition in a study abroad context (pp.67–94). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi: 10.1075/sibil.9.06lap
    https://doi.org/10.1075/sibil.9.06lap [Google Scholar]
  44. Llanes, À. , Tragant, E. , & Serrano, R
    (2012) The role of individual differences in a study abroad experience: The case of Erasmus students. International Journal of Multilingualism, 9(3), 318–342. doi: 10.1080/14790718.2011.620614
    https://doi.org/10.1080/14790718.2011.620614 [Google Scholar]
  45. Magnan, S.S. , & Back, M
    (2007) Social interaction and linguistic gain during study abroad. Foreign Language Annals, 40(1), 43–61. doi: 10.1111/j.1944‑9720.2007.tb02853.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1944-9720.2007.tb02853.x [Google Scholar]
  46. Martinsen, R.A
    (2010) Short-term study abroad: Predicting changes in oral skills. Foreign Language Annals, 43(3), 504–530. doi: 10.1111/j.1944‑9720.2010.01095.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1944-9720.2010.01095.x [Google Scholar]
  47. Masgoret, A.M. , & Gardner, R.C
    (2003) Attitudes, motivation, and second language learning: A meta-analysis of studies conducted by Gardner and associates. Language Learning, 53(1), 123–163. doi: 10.1111/1467‑9922.00212
    https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9922.00212 [Google Scholar]
  48. Meara, P
    (1994) The year abroad and its effects. Language Learning Journal, 10(1), 32–38. doi: 10.1080/09571739485200351
    https://doi.org/10.1080/09571739485200351 [Google Scholar]
  49. Miller, L. , & Ginsberg, R
    (1995) Folklinguistic theories of language learning. In B.F. Freed (Ed.), Second language acquisition in a study abroad context (pp.293–315). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi: 10.1075/sibil.9.18mil
    https://doi.org/10.1075/sibil.9.18mil [Google Scholar]
  50. Mitchell, R
    (2015) The development of social relations during residence abroad. Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 9(1), 22–33. doi: 10.1080/17501229.2014.995762
    https://doi.org/10.1080/17501229.2014.995762 [Google Scholar]
  51. Mitchell, R. , Tracy-Ventura, N. , McManus, K. , Richard, L. , & Romero de Mills, P
    (2013) The influence of social networks, personality and placement type on language learning during residence abroad: Preliminary findings of the LANGSNAP project. Paper presented at theConference on Residence Abroad, Social Networks and Second Language Learning, University of Southampton, UK.
    [Google Scholar]
  52. Nimon, K. , Zigarmi, D. , & Allen, J.M
    (2010) Measures of program effectiveness based on retrospective pretest data: Are all created equal?American Journal of Evaluation, 32(1), 8–28. doi: 10.1177/1098214010378354
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1098214010378354 [Google Scholar]
  53. Nunnally, J.O
    (1978) Psychometric theory. New York: McGraw-Hill.
    [Google Scholar]
  54. Ogden, A
    (2006) Ethnographic inquiry: Reframing the learning core of education abroad. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 15, 35–56.
    [Google Scholar]
  55. Pallant, J
    (2011) SPSS Survival Manual (4 ed.). Australia: Allen & Unwin.
    [Google Scholar]
  56. Pellegrino, V.A
    (1998) Student perspectives on language learning in a study abroad context. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 4(2), 91–120.
    [Google Scholar]
  57. Pérez-Vidal, C
    (2014) Study abroad and formal instruction contrasted: The SALA project. In C. Pérez-Vidal (Ed.), Language acquisition in study abroad and formal instruction contexts (pp.17–57). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi: 10.1075/aals.13.03ch2
    https://doi.org/10.1075/aals.13.03ch2 [Google Scholar]
  58. Pérez-Vidal, C. , & Barquin, E
    (2014) Comparing progress in academic writing after formal instruction and study abroad. In C. Pérez-Vidal (Ed.), Language acquisition in study abroad and formal instruction contexts (pp.217–234). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi: 10.1075/aals.13.11ch9
    https://doi.org/10.1075/aals.13.11ch9 [Google Scholar]
  59. Segalowitz, N. , & Freed, B.F
    (2004) Context, contact, and cognition in oral fluency acquisition: Learning Spanish in at home and study abroad contexts. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 26(2), 173–199. doi: 10.1017/S0272263104262027
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0272263104262027 [Google Scholar]
  60. Segalowitz, N. , Freed, B.F. , Collentine, J. , Lafford, B. , Lazar, N. , & Díaz-Campos, M
    (2004) A comparison of Spanish second language acquisition in two different learning contexts: Study abroad and the domestic classroom. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 10, 1–18.
    [Google Scholar]
  61. Serrano, R. , Llanes, À. , & Tragant, E
    (2011) Analyzing the effect of context of second language learning: Domestic intensive and semi-intensive courses vs. study abroad in Europe. System, 39(2), 133–143. doi: 10.1016/j.system.2011.05.002
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2011.05.002 [Google Scholar]
  62. Serrano, R. , Tragant, E. , & Llanes, À
    (2012) A longitudinal analysis of the effects of one year abroad. The Canadian Modern Language Review, 68(2), 138–163. doi: 10.3138/cmlr.68.2.138
    https://doi.org/10.3138/cmlr.68.2.138 [Google Scholar]
  63. Shively, R.L
    (2010) From the virtual world to the real world: A model of pragmatics instruction for study abroad. Foreign Language Annals, 43(1), 105–137. doi: 10.1111/j.1944‑9720.2010.01063.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1944-9720.2010.01063.x [Google Scholar]
  64. (2011) L2 pragmatic development in study abroad: A longitudinal study of Spanish service encounters. Journal of Pragmatics, 43(6), 1818–1835. doi: 10.1016/j.pragma.2010.10.030
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2010.10.030 [Google Scholar]
  65. Spenader, A.J
    (2011) Language learning and acculturation: Lessons from high school and gap-year exchange students. Foreign Language Annals, 44(2), 381–398. doi: 10.1111/j.1944‑9720.2011.01134.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1944-9720.2011.01134.x [Google Scholar]
  66. Ushioda, E
    (2009) A person-in-context relational view of emergent motivation, self and identity. In Z. Dörnyei & E. Ushioda (Eds.), Motivation, language identity and the L2 self (pp.215–228). Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
    [Google Scholar]
  67. Valls Ferrer, M
    (2011) The development of oral fluency and rhythm during a study abroad period. PhD Dissertation, Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, Spain.
    [Google Scholar]
  68. Whitworth, K.F
    (2006) Access to language learning during study abroad: The roles of identity and subject positioning. PhD Dissertation, Pennsylvania State University.
    [Google Scholar]
  69. Yu, B
    (2010) Learning Chinese abroad: The role of language attitudes and motivation in the adaptation of international students in China. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 31(3), 301–321. doi: 10.1080/01434631003735483
    https://doi.org/10.1080/01434631003735483 [Google Scholar]
  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): attitude; language acquisition; language contact; motivation; study abroad
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error