Research has demonstrated that study abroad can enhance every aspect of language ability. One of the most important general findings of this research is, however, that study abroad is most beneficial for the development of abilities related to social interaction. Students who go abroad can learn to do things with words, such as requesting, apologizing, or offering compliments, and they may also learn to interpret situations calling such speech acts in ways that local people do…In short, and logically, study abroad has been show to enhance the aspects of communicative competence that are most difficult to foster in classroom settings (IES Abroad MAP for Language and Intercultural Communication, p. 6).
Students entering this level must be able to fulfill the learning outcomes of the Novice Abroad level, as defined by the IES Abroad MAP for Language and Intercultural Communication. Specifically, they should already be able to express themselves on a variety of concrete, everyday topics and meet their basic needs in the language. Although students may have been exposed previously to certain competencies taught at this level, they need additional practice and instruction to move toward mastery of these competencies.
As students gain more self-awareness and self-confidence, they will attempt more in the community. Paradoxically, this means they may also experience more miscommunications and frustration. Students will develop cultural awareness and skills to work through the challenges of adaptation the local culture and learn to recognize their autonomy with the language. They will begin to appreciate the value of these language and intercultural skills.
This course builds upon skills introduced in Novice Abroad. By the end of the course, the successful student will have begun to develop some communicative and cultural self-confidence necessary to attempt moderately complex tasks in the language, as described in the learning outcomes below.