Study abroad Archive

Results in BLC Posts

Representing a Foreign Culture: Cultural Learning During Study Abroad

What do we learn about a culture when we travel abroad? In this research study, I adopted a Piagetian perspective to understand how students represent a foreign culture before and after study abroad. I contacted four UC Berkeley students who did not initially speak French and who were not familiar with French culture, and I…

Results in L2 Journal Articles

The Ecology of Study Abroad for Language Learning: Synthesis and Interdisciplinary Insights

This report presents a review of study abroad research conducted from an ecological perspective (Kramsch, 2003; Leather & van Dam, 2003; van Lier, 2004) and identifies areas of inquiry that are lacking compared to second language acquisition and other fields (i.e., linguistics, psychology). It identifies value-based views as a high-priority area of interest and draws on frameworks in other fields to outline how language learning research could effectively describe the moral ecology of study abroad for language learning.

L2 Multimodal Composing Abroad: Remixing Languages, Cultures, and Identities

This paper explores the second language, digital multimodal composing practices of 12 American undergraduates studying French abroad in Paris. Drawing on multiliteracies, multimodality, and translanguaging frameworks, this study utilizes a qualitative lens and multimodal composing timescapes to analyze how students leveraged languages and modes across 72 digital multimodal reflections and vlogs. Findings demonstrate how reflective multimodal composing developed multilingual identities by fostering metalinguistic awareness and goal-setting practices. Through their vlogs, students additionally participated in transcultural repositioning by making cross-cultural connections and sharing emotional experiences. Throughout the term students increased in traversals of modes, languages, spaces, and places as they became more comfortable with the French language, living in France, and multimodal composing. These results illustrate how digital multimodal composing can enhance learners’ linguistic and intercultural competencies while studying abroad. The article concludes with implications for multimodal composing to learn languages and calls for further research on the reflective multimodal composing practices of second language learners.

Competing Identities, Shifting Investments, and L2 Speaking During Study Abroad

Why learners return from study abroad (SA) with varying degrees of second language (L2) gains or differing attitudes towards the target language and culture remains an open question. This study employs theories of identity (Kinginger, 2013) and investment (Darvin & Norton, 2015; Norton Peirce, 1995) to examine the case of three learners of Spanish as they studied abroad in Spain. Interviews, journals, and language-use surveys were analyzed to understand how and why these learners’ investment in Spanish and in language learning opportunities shifted throughout their program. Pre- and post-SA speaking abilities tests in Spanish were used to measure how participants’ investments related to their L2 speaking development. The three case studies suggest that participants negotiate competing and fluctuating desires, identities, and investments that often lead to contradictory behaviors regarding their language learning and use while abroad. These opposing investments and identities stem from participants’ expectations of an idealized SA experience and their belief in the capital (Bourdieu, 1986) that Spanish may offer them back home and abroad. This study further finds that participants’ ongoing investment in learning and using Spanish relates to their L2 speaking gains post-SA.

Introduction to the Special Issue: Study Abroad in the Twenty-first Century

In the recently released Open Doors report, the Institute of International Education (2015) issued an overview of changes in the study abroad population since the turn of the twenty-first century. At first glance, the numbers are encouraging in many ways: More than twice as many American college students study abroad today compared to fifteen years ago ...

“I Thought That When I was in Germany, I Would Speak Just German”: Language Learning and Desire in Twenty-first Century Study Abroad

We live in a time of unmatched global mobility and correspondingly, the number of U.S.-American students studying abroad continues to increase. For years now, applied linguists have displayed an increased interest in study abroad students’ perspectives and desires about second language (L2) learning and use while abroad. Yet few studies have analyzed how these students’ beliefs and desires are shaped by the broader discourses regarding monolingualism and diversity that surround them. This paper thus investigates the experiences of two U.S.-American students during their year abroad in Marburg Germany, considering ...

Politicizing Study Abroad: Learning Arabic in Egypt and Mandarin in China

This paper examines ideologies of American study abroad in politically and culturally “non-Western” countries. Drawing from the theory of orientalism (Said, 1978), we analyze how American public discourse on study abroad for learners of Mandarin and Arabic manifests an orientalist thinking, and how such macro discourse both produces multilingual subjects (Kramsch, 2010) and considerable tensions with the micro discourses of these subjects. Our findings show ...

An Activity Theoretical Approach to Social Interaction During Study Abroad

This case study examines the orientation to social interaction by one study abroad student who spent a semester in Spain. Using an activity theoretical approach, the findings indicate that the student did not only view social interaction with his Spanish host family and a expert-Spanish-speaking age peer as an opportunity for second language (L2) learning, but also had other goals for the interactions such as relationship building and enjoyment. The analysis further highlights ...

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