Research demonstrates that study abroad can have a positive impact on every domain of language competence, and that it is particularly helpful for the development of abilities related to social interaction. However, some results suggest that study abroad intensifies individual differences in achievement: Certain students thrive while others founder. Qualitative studies provide insight into the sources of these differences both in the stances that students adopt toward their host communities and in the ways in which they are received. Overall, the research points to a need for language learners' broader engagement in local communicative practices, for mindfulness of their situation as peripheral participants, and for more nuanced awareness of language itself. This article offers a rationale, based on the current state of the art in research, for including the expertise of language educators in the choice and design of study abroad programs. Students will benefit from programs specifically designed to foster language learning through observation, participation, and reflection.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Language and Linguistics
- Linguistics and Language