Linguistic Gains During Short-Term Study Abroad: Examining the Role of Initial Proficiency
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The focus of this project is to determine whether or not second-language learners make significant linguistic gains during short-term study abroad programs. Today we see a ton of study-abroad programs, specifically short-term programs, that are popping up all over the nation but we do not really know if these experiences make a difference when it comes to learner proficiency. When people ask, What is the best way to acquire another language? most people typically say that studying in a different country is the most effective way; however, the results of empirical research are mixed. This particular project hones in on two groups of students participating in five-week study abroad programs in Spain designed for (a) beginning learners and (b) intermediate-advanced learners, respectively. Learner proficiency was measured using multiple metrics from learners during weeks one and five of their study-abroad programs. Data were examined in order to determine (a) whether learners made significant gains in proficiency during study abroad and (b) whether proficiency changes were related to pre-program proficiency in order to explore the linguistic impact of short-term study abroad programs and the role of initial proficiency and preparedness in linguistic gains during study abroad.