Learning Language and Culture outside the Classroom: Korean Study Abroad Students' Experience
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The findings of the study show that participation in outside-the-classroom interactions enhances students' language and culture learning in study abroad situations. However, living or working with native speakers did not necessarily mean that there were meaningful interactions. Social interaction with native speakers was challenging for language learners because of the cultural distances, discontinuity, and conflicts between them. Despite the difficulties in social and cultural interactions in the target culture, active participation in social interactions was still an important factor in language and culture learning. Verbalizing cultural issues such as cultural differences, misunderstandings, and observations of the target culture was an indication of the learners' cultural awareness and development.
Students believed that knowledge of grammar was an important factor for successful communication. At the same time, students were anxious about misunderstandings and miscommunication. I found that students easily engaged in interactions with their international peers, and these were less stressful than interactions with native speakers. This peer interaction eventually created opportunities for language learning. Students expected native speakers to correct their errors and to take roles as teachers of the target language even outside the classroom, but they also learned to initiate self-repairs and to ask for help. Engagement is the key to making a good conversation. The underlying condition for engagement is negotiation between two interlocutors to understand meanings.
- Doctoral Dissertations