Making a Difference through Talk

Spanish Heritage Language Learners as Conversation Partners in a Hybrid Study Abroad Program

Authored by: Marijuan Silvia

The Routledge Handbook of Study Abroad Research and Practice

Print publication date:  June  2018
Online publication date:  June  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138192393
eBook ISBN: 9781315639970
Adobe ISBN:


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Program structure has been argued to be one of the crucial factors that determine the learning outcomes of a study abroad (SA) program (Dewey et al., 2014). This can be especially relevant for short-term SA programs (i.e., programs lasting 8 weeks or less) since there has been some debate as to their efficiency. SA research focused on the impact of short-term SA programs on second language (L2) development suggests that specific programmatic features, such as the inclusion of language exchanges between L2 learners (L2Ls) and native speakers, can foster the likelihood of L2Ls’ benefiting from the immersive experience (Grey, Cox, Serafini, & Sanz, 2015; Marijuan, 2015; Nagle, Morales-Front, Moorman, & Sanz, 2016). Moreover, literature on SA pre-sessional courses taking place before students begin their academic program, and including language exchange partners to promote L2 language preparation (Dewaele, Comanaru, & Faraco, 2015), have shown that language exchanges not only seem to lower L2Ls’ level of foreign language anxiety (i.e., negative emotional reactions when using an L2) but also tend to increase L2Ls’ willingness to communicate (i.e., the propensity to engage in communication).

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