ABSTRACT

The study abroad (SA) experience offers one of the most attractive and fulfilling prospects for young people these days. Moreover, it has offered an outstandingly rich terrain for empirical research on language acquisition. This chapter offers a critical overview of European SA trends and linguistic research, framed within research conducted worldwide. We describe the general features of mobility in Europe and contrast it with other programmes. We then survey the recent literature on linguistic gains accrued while abroad and the factors which condition them. Finally, we discuss multilingualism, English-medium instruction (EMI), and English as a lingua franca (ELF), as the shared language of communication between international students during SA in Europe and draw conclusions regarding future research directions.