What language gains are college students making while they are abroad? Language learners are often encouraged to study abroad to become more "fluent" in their target language. This claim has been supported by research to show that students do make fluency gains while abroad, but these studies often include small samples and only focus on commonly taught languages like Spanish and French, so it is difficult to know how these findings relate to other languages.
This presentation will focus on a research study of 75 learners of Mandarin, Russian, and Spanish. Researchers investigated student language gains by analyzing performances on the Simulated Oral Proficiency Interview (SOPI) at the beginning and end of a semester abroad. Five different measures of oral fluency were used. Findings shed light on fluency development across languages and in terms of other programmatic factors. The presentation will conclude with a discussion of implications for programs and future research.