Could not download file: This paper is available to authorised users only.

SPANISH LANGUAGE ACQUISITION AND CULTURAL ACCEPTANCE BENEFITS OF STUDY ABROAD TRIPS FOR FIFTH GRADE STUDENTS

E. Schaumleffle

University of Oklahoma - Tulsa (UNITED STATES)
Spanish language acquisition and cultural acceptance benefits of study abroad trips for fifth grade students (aged 10-11) looked at the benefits of being bilingual, especially at an early age, and the benefits of study abroad programs. Rarely, early bilingual education programs have a study abroad option as a capstone to the classroom experience for the students where they learn the culture and language firsthand while living with host families for an extended period in the country of their target language. While research is still inconclusive about the tangible benefits for teenagers and young adults who study abroad, the study of elementary aged students and their study abroad trips has not been previously measured. Often this is due to the fact that study abroad trips are not offered at this young of an age for the majority of American students. Because of the lack of research in this area, this study looked at a Spanish language immersion school and the study abroad that was offered to their fifth grade students. The mixed methods research found that the fifth grade students who studied abroad for four or eight weeks returned home with better grades, higher second language acquisition, and increased independence in the classroom in comparison to their peers who did not study abroad. This research also found differences between those four and eight week programs, with the eight week program providing maximum benefits.