Embargo Period


Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

Peter Simpson


Language and Personal Growth in Study Abroad will explore student perceptions of the role language learning during study abroad played in four key areas of personal growth: self-confidence, ability to problem-solve, learning about their host culture, and learning about themselves. This study aims to highlight and increase understanding of the individual’s study abroad experience. Eight students participated in this research. Data was collected from participants through an online survey and through individual semi-structured interviews. Student blogs written both pre-departure and during study abroad were also analyzed. Findings reveal a belief amongst participants that language learning helped them to become more confident interacting with native speakers and more adept at finding creative solutions to communicative problems. Findings also suggest that through the use of host languages, participants were able to understand more about cultural values of their host communities. Finally, participants described various lessons learned about themselves, including insights related to open-mindedness, independence, and negative attitudes and thought-patterns. Findings also revealed the perceptions that participants had about language learning in general, particularly the importance many of them placed on an immersion environment. This research will help international educators, language professors, and administrators understand the value of language learning in a study abroad context. In doing so, this research will provide a rationale for improved preparation and support for students going abroad. Future inquiry into how students form their perceptions about language learning will provide a greater understanding of the student experience abroad.


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | International and Comparative Education | Language and Literacy Education | Psychology