ABSTRACT  Professional opinion regarding the effect of interaction with native speakers on gains in language proficiency is mixed; however, in most studies the subjects have been students of English as a second language rather than American students studying abroad. The assignment described in this essay demonstrates that for students studying abroad, out-ofclass contact in the form of interviews with native speakers has a positive effect on the students' selfconfi-dence and their willingness to use the target language. American college students studying for ten weeks in Salzburg, Austria, were required to interview two native speakers, one approximately the same age as the students and one older. Students prepared a written protocol of the interview and gave an oral presentation of the results. At the end of the program, students assessed the value of the assignment by completing a questionnaire about the interview process.