Over the past two decades, there has been a steady increase in studies concerning language learners out-of-class interaction and social network development in study abroad contexts (e.g. Kato Tanibe, 1997; Tanaka, 2007; Ayano, 2006; Isabelli-Garcia, 2006; Pearson-Evans, 2006; Zappa, 2007; Meier Daniels, 2011; Dewey, Bown Eggett, 2012; Trentman, 2013; research in this volume). However, to date, there has been very little research into the ongoing impact of study abroad on learners target language (TL) speaking networks once they return to their home countries. Do they maintain these newly developed networks and/or demonstrate an enhanced ability to expand TL networks once removed from the study abroad environment? Moreover, do these networks continue to provide opportunities for TL usage, or do frequent contact with TL speakers, and opportunities for language use and learning, become but a lingering memory of the study abroad experience? These questions have become the focus of the present research, which, based within a larger doctoral project, investigates the impact of various university-level study abroad programmes on Japanese language learners social networks with Japanese speakers after they returned to Australia. In this chapter, I provide a brief review of the literature concerning the benefits of study abroad, and then narrow the focus to studies regarding social interaction, network maintenance and/or development, and language use in post-study abroad contexts. I then introduce the methodology employed in this study, followed by a discussion of findings and directions for future research.
|Title of host publication||Social Interaction, Identity and Language Learning During Residence Abroad|
|Editors||Rosamond Mitchell, Nicole Tracy-Ventura, Kevin McManus|
|Place of Publication||Colchester UK|
|Pages||241 - 262|
|Number of pages||22|
|Publication status||Published - 2015|
|Name||EuroSLA Monograph Series|