The Effects of Study Abroad on Second Language Identities and Language Learning

Tomoka Sato
2014 Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry  
There are numerous studies on the improvement of language proficiency and adaptability to different cultures through study abroad. However, there is a paucity of research on study abroad of Japanese students per se, not to mention the fact that there are even fewer studies on identities that are formed through one's second language use, which is called second language identity and language learning in study abroad contexts. Based on a narrative inquiry of three Japanese students who
more » ... nts who participated in three or four-week study-abroad programs, this paper examines the construction of second language identity and language learning. A narrative approach has shown to be an ideal tool for revealing the complexity of human behavior since it is human-centered, and it analyses participants' identity construction through oral accounts of their experiences. Data was collected through one-on-one and semi-structured interviews, in which the participants were asked to describe their study abroad experience. After collecting their statements, content analysis was conducted. The findings reveal that all participants constructed their second language identities. They become active in learning and using English by the interaction with local people and through self-enlightenment that was generated by finding a person they admire, and this impact has lasted well since they returned home. Moreover, the study shows that when there are no inequitable relations of power in social interaction, language learners can favorably construct their second language identities that they want to project. As a result, they become aware of linguistic analysis or pragmatics at the same time.
doi:10.17569/tojqi.56715 fatcat:o524xij7pze6ngenyhgiz6olwi