Linguistic Loneliness and Study Abroad
This article considers the conflict between students’ desire to improve their target language skills and their desire for belonging and community . The stud y, conducted over three years, examines student perceptions of barriers to target language gain during semester long study abroad. Participants completed surveys, took the Versant Language Test before and after their study abroad experience, and partici pated in a post program interview . Results suggest that students experience conflicting priorities in decisions governing native language versus target language use during study abroad. Although some persist in speaking the target language with their co national peers, they find it unsatisfying because they are unable to meet their social needs . Valuing relationships over linguistic improvements, students resort to speaking their native language among themselves during study abroad . The research ers suggest strategies for how to best prepare students to reconcile these tensions.
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