CfP The Culture of Study Abroad for Second Languages

Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Canada 

July 14 – 17, 2015 

This conference, organized in association with the AILA-ReN on study abroad research, intends to bring together scholars and practitioners for plenary talks, research presentations, panels, workshops, and posters exploring various facets of the culture of study and residence abroad and their relationship to foreign language learning.

Given the ongoing increasing mobility of students across borders for the purpose of acquiring a foreign language in another culture and gaining cross-cultural experiences, as well as the growing depth of academic interest in the area of study abroad especially where language development and intercultural awareness are concerned, this conference focuses specifically on the central matter of culture — or cultures — in foreign language study abroad contexts. Here, “culture” is understood as bearing a range of meanings from the language, customs, institutions, attitudes, and behaviours of a particular social group or group within a group, to the material products of the acts of imagination and human creativity such as literature, music, painting, film, and popular culture, to the appreciation and consumption of these forms either in formal educational practice or through personal inquiry and aspiration.

Focused on the Culture of Study Abroad, as well as mindful of the specific location of the conference in Canada and its increased inward international student mobility especially from Asia, the conference organizers invite proposals for papers, panels, and workshops that concern one or more of the following questions:

  1. What is the culture of study abroad and study abroad participants / stakeholders (teachers, hosts, organizers, etc.)?

  2. What is cultural learning on study abroad and its relationship to language acquisition?

  3. What is done with culture after studying abroad?

  4. What are the cultural implications of French exchanges in or from Canada?

  5. What are the cultural interests and concerns of language students moving from, to, and within Asia?

The first question focuses on aspects of community, individual and group behaviour, social networks, identity, values, and foundations, but also home/foreign culture, cultural translation, and generational, professional, social-economic, institutional, and classroom cultures (students, digital natives, instructors, host families, the host public, etc.). It examines and explores how such groups and contexts emerge, function, and impact personal, linguistic, and intercultural development.

The second attends to student, teacher, and host perceptions of material or behavioural culture-to-be-learned as well as to pedagogy, curriculum / curricula, and extra-curricular activities that lead to cultural and intercultural learning. Also of interest is the explicit or implicit relation between culture and linguistic development.

The third explores the afterlife of cultural, intercultural, and language learning on study abroad programming, when participants return to their domestic universities or workplaces. Here the focus is on how or whether participants maintain linguistic gains, different cultural and intercultural perspectives, and new subjectivities.

The fourth raises the issue of the perceived hierarchy of forms of French in study abroad choices, the cultural status of France in international French language education, and the specificity of Quebec, other French-speaking parts of Canada, and la francophonie.

The fifth inquires after trends, opportunities, and challenges in the mobility of students from or to Asia as well as in the under-researched area of between Asian countries. Topics of interest here might include third language and culture learning in second language contexts, access to linguistic, cultural, and educational resources, and the explicit or tacit association of foreign language study abroad with both institutional and national development and immigration policies.

Plenary talks related to the abovementioned topics will be given by internationally renowned scholars in the area of study abroad research:

– Dr. Gary Barkhuizen (University of Auckland)

– Dr. Jane Jackson (Chinese University of Hong Kong)

– Dr. Rosamond Mitchell (University of Southampton)

– Dr. Carmen Pérez-Vidal (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona)

– Dr. Martin Howard (University College Cork)

The topics identified under the title The Culture of Study Abroad offer a broad range of areas of interest upon which to reflect critically, thus ensuring a conference that is original in scope and appealing for scholars, practitioners, and program administrators from across the modern language learning and teaching disciplines, second language acquisition research, as well as the study abroad education sector. The conference thus also hopes to bridge the potential gap in the field of study abroad between researcher knowledge and practitioner knowledge, especially where teaching and learning culture in the foreign-language environment are concerned.

Proposals for 20-minute papers and panels may take the form of scholarly discussions, research studies, or professional reports of program and classroom initiatives. Proposals for workshops may explore innovative research, methodological approaches and issues, pedagogical activities, curriculum design, administrative practices, or intra- and inter-institutional policy development.

Abstracts for intended papers, panels, and workshops are welcome in English or French. Please submit an abstract of the proposal as a Word document to the organizers at ( Abstracts for papers should be no more than 300 words. Abstracts for panels and workshops should comprise a general outline no more than 300 words, followed by the participants’ abstracts. The body of the message should contain the presenter’s/presenters’ name(s), affiliation, and the title of the paper, panel, or workshop.

For the sake of blind review the abstract must not include the name(s) of the presenter(s).

In the abstract clearly state the topic, research question(s), and objectives. Abstracts on empirical projects should identify the data sources, procedures for data collection and analysis, and actual or expected outcomes. Proposals for workshops should also include a plan of activities. All proposals should indicate which of the five topic areas of the conference they intend to address in particular.

Deadline for abstract proposals: October 15, 2014. 

All presenters will be invited to expand their work for consideration for publication in one of a series of journal special issues on the abovementioned topics related to the culture of study abroad. Cooperating journals include the Canadian Journal of Applied Linguistics / Revue canadienne de linguistique appliquée and the journal of Comparative and International Education. Papers submitted for consideration for publication will be subject to a separate blind peer review and only those accepted will be published. Please see further information regarding the submission of work for consideration for a journal special issue on the conference website: 

The conference organizers would like to acknowledge the support of the following offices and departments at Saint Mary’s University:

– the Office of the President

– the Office of the Vice President Academic and Research

– the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research

– the Centre for the Interdisciplinary Study of Culture, Faculty of Arts

– the Department of Modern Languages and Classics

– the Office of International Activities

For further information, please contact:

Organizing committee:

Dr. John L. Plews, Dr. Alexandre Avdulov, Dr. Rohini Bannerjee, Ms. Shana McGuire

Dept. of Modern Languages & Classics

Saint Mary’s University

Halifax, NS, B3H 3C3