Eurasian Journal of Educational Research , vol.92, pp.10-30, 2021 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)
Purpose: Study abroad has been very popular among students recently. Turkish youth have become even more willing to study abroad and improve their English language skills. As lingua franca (ELF) is the main language for interaction, especially in Europe. The current study investigated language learning perceptions of Turkish students who have participated in Erasmus Exchange Program.
Research Methods: The participants were 100 (58 females and 42 males) university students from different departments who had been in an Erasmus Exchange Program in the previous five years. The data were collected using two sets of questionnaires containing 41 items, and an interview protocol. These aimed to elicit information participants’ views on their English language learning process back then and at the time of data collection, and their study abroad experience.
Findings: The findings indicatee that this experience made a significant impact on them. They have positive outlook of their language learning. They are willing to take part in intercultural communication. In addition, they said that they gained first-hand information on different cultures through the friends they had made in Europe, which widened their horizon. The participants who work at present believe that they owe their present position to the qualifications gained abroad.
Implications for Research and Practice: The findings of the study indicated that the participants have developed positive thoughts during their one semester stay in Europe. A longer study abroad experience might have affected by their perceptions in a different way. They indicated that they had not gone through an orientation programme before going to Europe. They all agreed that an awareness-raising orientation program would be a very good start for any exchange students. For further research it is advisable to organise a project where exchange students receive an orientation programme where students are made aware of how to cope with cultural differences before travelling to Europe.