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ERIC Number: ED545838
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 408
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: 978-1-2674-7354-7
Study Abroad in Egypt: Identity, Access, and Arabic Language Learning
Trentman, Emma Gale
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Michigan State University
Study abroad is often viewed as an ideal setting to improve target language proficiency due to opportunities for extensive contact with locals in the target language. However, research on study abroad demonstrates that this local contact and target language use can be quite limited, and that there is considerable variation in the linguistic outcomes of study abroad (Freed 1998; Kinginger, 2009). This study uses mixed methods to examine target language use and access to locals during study abroad in two different locations in Egypt: the Middlebury program at the University of Alexandria, and the study abroad and intensive Arabic programs at the American University in Cairo (AUC). Questionnaire, interview, and observation data were gathered from 54 Arabic learners, 10 Arabic teachers, and 13 Egyptian associates of the learners. The quantitative data demonstrate that while students in the Middlebury program used more Arabic on average than students studying at AUC, there is a great deal of individual variation within each program. Drawing upon identity theory (Norton & McKinney, 2011) and the qualitative data, I demonstrate how students' "investment" in Arabic related to their desired participation in an "imagined community of study abroad to the Middle East". However, the reality of the communicative contexts they encountered abroad at times resulted in a mismatch with this imagined community, particularly regarding access to Egyptians and Arabic language use. Examining the ways in which students responded to this mismatch, particularly through the use of "individual agency", sheds lights on the extensive variation in their access to locals and Arabic language use. Identity theory also provides crucial insights into the roles played by western foreigner, gender, and religious identities abroad. This study finds that particular identity categories (i.e. westerner, female) can both help and hinder access to locals in the target language depending on how they are negotiated within the socio-historical context. Finally, the experiences of six case study students highlight the variety of experiences abroad as well as how these students were able (or unable) to negotiate their identities abroad in order to gain access to Egyptians and use Arabic. The results of this study have important implications for research on study abroad, identity theory, and study abroad program design. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Egypt