Document Type : Case Study


Georgia Institute of Technology, USA


This case study was conducted to determine the benefits of a multi-dimensional study abroad program that included a community service component. It encompassed the following aspects of the study abroad experience: motivation for travel, language learning research, the role of autonomy in language learning, and cultural awareness, behaviors, and attitudes. The researcher acted as a participant and an observer through ongoing ethnographical observations as the program took place. The researcher also implemented an oral assessment to determine the subjects’ language skills, and conducted one-on-one interviews with participants about the culture of Costa Rica and the comprehensive impact of the study abroad experience. To assess what aspects of the program facilitated and impeded target language fluency, the researcher collected information on student participation in the everyday lives of the natives, their living accommodations, the number of hours per week of formal second language (L2) instruction, and the opportunities for consistent, daily conversation in the target language.