Study abroad homestay versus dormitory

Angela George
  • Spanish in Context, January 2019, John Benjamins
  • DOI: 10.1075/sic.00027.geo

Language development in study abroad: The effects of living with a family versus in a dormitory

Photo by Brigitte Tohm on Unsplash

Photo by Brigitte Tohm on Unsplash

What is it about?

This is about how university students from the USA who study abroad in Spain develop local features of the Spanish language. In particular this study examined if living with a host family would result in faster and more development of these features than living in a dormitory primarily with other English speakers.

Why is it important?

We do not know much about how students develop their language while abroad. The findings from this study provides some evidence for that development and also which style of housing results in increased development of some local features of the language. Also this study shows us the importance of quality and quantity of interaction with locals.


Angela George
University of Calgary

Writing this article helped to demonstrate differences in living situations abroad. Students are often faced with choices of where to live while abroad and this shows that living with a family can result in increased use of local features. Living in a dormitory with other speakers of your first language, in this case English, can hinder language development.

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