In the field of foreign language learning, there is much literature regarding the necessity of concurrent language and cultural competence acquisition, particularly in the 21st century global community. The United States is the only industrialized nation in the world that does not require advanced foreign language study of its scholars. There is considerable resistance of individuals to foreign language acquisition and cultural adaptation, under the assumption that “everyone else” will speak English and will conduct business the same way we Americans do. While it is true that English is the most commonly used language used in international business, it is an indicator of an educated society that the citizens speak the languages and appreciate the cultures of their counterparts from other countries. Study Abroad programs have been increasing in popularity, particularly those eight weeks long or less. There is significant literature on the benefits derived from semester and year-long study abroad programs, but is scarce regarding the long-term benefits of short-term study abroad. This present qualitative study analyzed the reflections of a number of adults who have participated in at least one short term study abroad, to discover what their perceptions are regarding the long term benefits, in terms of language acquisition and increased cross cultural competence, of short term study abroad. The 13 participants had taken at least one short-term study abroad program, some of them as long as 20 or 30 years ago. Their reflections were strongly worded in favor of the life-changing benefits they still enjoy as a result of those programs, some as short as 10 days. They all reported a surge in personal growth and cross-cultural competence. Those who had a language component reported strong growth in fluency and culturally accurate usage, which has been carried forward in their personal and/or professional life. Some even reported a career change as a result of the study abroad. Further research could take the form of a mixed-methods longitudinal study of individuals, comprised of pre- and post-trip surveys and interviews, with further surveys and interviews after a period of several years.
|Commitee:||Duffy, Jennifer, Holman, Grania|
|Department:||School of Education|
|School Location:||United States -- Arizona|
|Source:||DAI-A 77/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Foreign Language, Education|
|Keywords:||Cross-cultural competence, Foreign language, Global citizen, Short term study abroad, Study abroad|
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