Assessing Gains in Language Proficiency, Cross-Cultural Competence, and Regional Awareness During Study Abroad: A Preliminary Study

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Abstract

As a critical part of the internationalization movement in college curricula, study abroad initiatives are becoming more and more popular and the need to assess their outcomes more and more evident. While numerous studies have investigated the language gain associated with study abroad, researchers are also beginning to look at potential gains in the areas of cultural and regional competence. This study presents a theoretical background for a three-tiered model for assessing student outcomes during study abroad in three domains—language proficiency, cross-cultural competence, and regional awareness—and presents the quantitative data gathered from the implementation of this model. Results show the feasibility of assessing these outcomes in a holistic manner through formal assessment instruments and participant coaching pre- and post-immersion.

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