Volume 7, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2405-5522
  • E-ISSN: 2405-5530
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Thirty-seven second language (L2) learners of Japanese (21 L1 English, 16 L1 Chinese) participated in an eight-week study abroad (SA) program to Japan. Pre- and post-SA oral proficiency interviews were used for ACTFL-level assessments and ratings of component skills (pronunciation, fluency, grammatical accuracy, vocabulary/content, interaction skills). Surveys measured socio-affective variables and L2 engagement (using a modified Language Contact Profile). Thirty-six participants increased in ACTFL level. Both L1 groups showed a significant increase in component skills and perceived competence. For L1 Chinese participants, pre-SA perceived competence significantly correlated with time spent in brief exchanges using Japanese. For L1 English participants, gains in interaction scores remained significant after controlling for the significant increase in positive communication affect. Thematic analysis of participants’ journals revealed the homestay environment was the nexus of activities supporting communication skill development through exchanges of viewpoints and culture learning, frequently over dinner. Homestays also contributed to developing greater L2 speaking confidence.


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