Volume 9, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2405-5522
  • E-ISSN: 2405-5530


This article presents a comparative study of the oral English proficiency gains of two groups of students, namely mobility students before and during the COVID-19 pandemic ( = 26), who were matched for background variables such as pre-departure oral proficiency, duration of stay, accommodation, and destination. Oral proficiency was measured before and after the stay using the Oral Proficiency Interview by Computer (OPIc). Results indicate that students staying abroad before the outbreak of the pandemic made significant progress while students staying abroad during the pandemic did not. Student comments suggest that this may be related to the measures taken to contain the pandemic, limiting opportunities for social networking and interaction. However, this impression could not be supported by statistical analyses of the self-reported number of social contacts or amount of English language use. The results point to the need for consideration of qualitative aspects of social interactions and language use and a more frequent and situated assessment of these.

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