The Effects of a Study Abroad Experience on the L2 Motivational Self and Metacognitive Skills : A study of a junior highschool trip abroad

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Abstract

The present study investigates 74 Japanese junior high school students participating in a short-term study abroad program, and whether this experience affected the students' motivation, according to Dörnyei's Second Language Motivational Self System, and their use of metacognitive skills in their English studies. Using a questionnaire obtaining both quantitative and qualitative data, subjects were observed before, immediately after returning to Japan, and again eight weeks after returning home from their trip. The results indicated that despite immediately after returning to Japan, students' motivation and the correlation between students' motivation and metacognitive skills showed a slight increase, approximately two months after returning to Japan, those figures had returned to the level it had been prior to the study abroad program. However, based on qualitative data gained from students' responses to open-ended items in the third questionnaire, it was still deemed that a short-term study abroad program is beneficial for participants. Reasons for differences in quantitative and qualitative data are discussed, concluding that a greater importance should be placed on the time following the study abroad program in order to gain the maximum effect of such an experience.

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