EFL Learners Studying Abroad:Challenges and Strategies

| June 3, 2013
EFL Learners Studying Abroad:Challenges and Strategies

Keywords: preparation for overseas study, qualitative research, academic challenges overseas, social challenges overseas, emotional challenges overseas, culture adjustment strategies

Jerry G. Gebhard, Ed.D.
Professor Emeritus, Indiana University of Pennsylvania Professor,
Pusan National University

Bio Data
During his 42 year career, Gebhard has taught as an EFL teacher and teacher educator in Thailand, Japan, China, Korea, and the US. He directed and taught in the Graduate Program in Composition & TESOL at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and has published extensively in the fields of Second Language Teacher Education, Cross-Cultural Communication, and EFL/ESL teaching.

This article focuses on research into the lives of students who were educated within Asian EFL learning contexts and studying at a US university. The purpose of the study was to understand the kinds of challenges that these students faced and the adaptation strategies they used when faced with them. Qualitative data were collected and analyzed using on-going interviews with and written narratives by students from China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan and Thailand. Findings show that students were challenged by academics, social interaction, and emotional reactions to their new life and used three different kinds of strategies: coping, observing and imitating, and reflecting and doing. These findings go beyond previously recognized coping strategies by documenting other types of strategies – observing and imitating and reflecting and doing. This article concludes with implications these findings have for researchers and for stakeholders in students’ success.
[private] See page: 152-180
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Category: Main Editions, Volume 15 Issue 2