Language Fluency and Study Abroad Adaptation

  • Victor Savicki
  • Carmen Arrúe
  • Frauke Binder
Keywords: Study Abroad, Study abroad experience, Affective issues

Abstract

By definition, study abroad students are faced with acculturative stress by virtue of encountering differences in assumptions, values, and expectations of daily living in their host culture. "Dynamic disequilibrium" may allow students to unfreeze their typical mindsets in order to encourage alternate points of view.  However, a somewhat unexamined question concerns the consequences for students when disequilibrium edges over into discontent, distress or dejection.  The current study examines the study abroad experience of students with different levels of affect as a result of their study abroad sojourn.  Students with less positive and more negative affect show higher problematic stress appraisals, more psychological symptoms and less satisfaction.  In addition they used their host culture language less, reported more difficulty in adapting to their host culture, and showed lower evaluation of their national identity.  Precursors to these outcomes are suggested.  A growing need to address affective issues is outlined.  Potential program design issues are mentioned to accommodate to lower affective responses.

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Author Biographies

Victor Savicki

Victor Savicki is Professor of Psychology, Emeritus, at Western Oregon University. His recent research has focused on stress, coping and adjustment in cross-cultural settings. He has participated in a variety of study abroad programs both as an instructor and a researcher.

Carmen Arrúe

Carmen Arrue is the on-site director in Oviedo, Spain for AHA International and instructor of the Intercultural Awareness/ Intercultural Perspectives course. Originally from Cuba, she grew up in the U.S. where she completed undergraduate and graduate degrees in anthropology. Carmen has been in Asturias for more than twenty years and has been directing the Oviedo program since 1995.

Frauke Binder

Frauke Binder is Site Director for AHA International in Vienna. She has been an instructor at the Deutsche Sommerschule am Pazific in Portland, OR (2001-2009) and is a member of the International Breathwork Foundation.

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Published
2013-01-15
How to Cite
Savicki, V., Arrúe, C., & Binder, F. (2013). Language Fluency and Study Abroad Adaptation. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 22(1), 37-57. https://doi.org/10.36366/frontiers.v22i1.318

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