Study Abroad Arabic Programs
The 21st century has witnessed a marked increase in both the numbers of students studying Arabic and studying abroad in Arabic-speaking countries. Enrollment data from the Modern Language Association show that in 1998, a mere 5,505 students were studying Arabic in US institutions of higher education. It is critical for Arabic language professionals in the 21st century to be aware of the research surrounding language learning and study abroad, particularly as much of this research rejects the popular assumption that study abroad will result in high levels of language and intercultural proficiency. This chapter reviews research on study abroad and discusses a framework for research-based interventions that can be implemented by programs at home and abroad (preferably together). Oral proficiency has been the primary focus of research on gains in language proficiency, as real-life interactions in the target language are an assumed benefit of study abroad.