ABSTRACT

International educational experience is often assumed to provide crucial learning opportunities for intercultural development, second language (L2) proficiency, global-mindedness, and personal growth. However, contemporary studies have challenged the immersion assumption regarding intercultural and linguistic progress abroad, pointing to a need for further investigation of the complex interrelationship of linguistic and intercultural development in SA settings. This study reports on the impact of a semester abroad on 118 Flemish participants’ progress in L2 lexical and pragmatic competence, as well as their intercultural development, conceptualised as Cultural Intelligence (CQ). Results show overall significant progress, except for their extrinsic motivation towards the Erasmus experience and their ability to plan intercultural interactions. While participants’ L2 lexical proficiency did not seem connected to their intercultural development, some links were found between sojourners’ pragmatic competence and changes in their CQ profile. These results show the need to further investigate the influence of language use abroad on participants’ intercultural abilities, as well as the need for additional efforts from home institutions in preparing students for potential intercultural interactions.