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ERIC Number: EJ991043
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 23
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 41
ISSN: ISSN-1085-4568
Relationship of Foreign Language Proficiency to Study Abroad Outcomes and Inputs
Savicki, Victor
Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, v21 p63-85 Fall 2011
Foreign language proficiency and learning are crucial parts of many study abroad programs; especially those whose host culture language is different than that of the native language of students electing to study in them. Indeed, how a program organizes itself regarding pre-departure language proficiency requirements, on site language learning, and access to academic coursework in the host culture language may impact the intensity of student immersion and the overall quality of the program. However, there is some debate about the actual impact of foreign language proficiency on student intercultural competence. Although experts in the study abroad field could not agree on the necessity of foreign language knowledge as a prerequisite for intercultural competence, they did agree on the value of "sociolinguistic awareness--of how one uses language within a societal and social context." This distinction seems to differentiate between structural and functional language proficiency. A longitudinal study of U.S. study abroad students showed little or no difference in intercultural measures between students in English speaking programs and those in foreign language speaking programs. Norris and Steinberg (2008) suggest that these findings indicate "the consistent impact of studying abroad, regardless of the program's language of instruction." Even though one might expect foreign language proficiency to have an effect on intercultural competence and other study abroad outcomes, the research findings are uncertain. Part of this inconsistency between expectation and research findings with regard to the impact of language proficiency may lie in the different methodologies of language proficiency assessment. This study seeks to address two related issues: (1) to examine the relationship between three different measures of language proficiency; and (2) to discover the relationship between these measures and study abroad outcomes and inputs. Different measures of language proficiency may be useful for different purposes, and the potential predictive connection to outcomes and inputs may be instructive in designing and implementing study abroad programs. (Contains 2 tables and 1 figure.)
Frontiers Journal. Dickinson College P.O. Box 1773, Carlisle, PA 17013. Tel: 717-254-8858; Fax: 717-245-1677; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A