This qualitative study investigated the social networks and communities of practice that eight Japanese university students experienced during a short-term study abroad (SA) sojourn in Australia. Our aim was to understand how the quality of these networks, and the interactions that they afforded, was reflected in the ways in which participants valued their language socialisation experiences. Participants’ responses indicated gaps between pre-SA imagined networks and the actual social networks experienced. Specific elements within these social networks and communities of practice – relating to people, topics, and atmosphere – were found to have a positive impact on the quality of interactions. The themes that defined quality were increases in linguistic self-confidence, a sense of being able to communicate while receiving support from others, and a feeling of enjoyment associated with the network or community. These findings underpin our recommendations on preparing students to make the most of their study abroad experiences.
|Journal||Journal of Language Identity and Education|
|Publication status||Submitted - 2021|
- study abroad
- social networks
- communities of practice
- L2 experiences
- quality interactions