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Summary of interviews with students who have studyed abroad for language learning

Interview Questions

Part I: Before coming to US
  1. What kind of English study have you done before coming to US?
  2. How was your proficiency in English before? What do you think were problems?
  3. What was the motivation to com to US to study English?
  4. How much chance did you have to use English in your home country?

Part II: In US
  1. Please explain your stay. How long? Where? Which course did you take?
  2. Please descrive your classes. How were they like?
  3. Please describe your life outside the classroom. How much did you speak in English?
  4. What was the major obstacle you faced during your stay regarding English? (i.e. what was the major factor of preventing/discouraging you from using English?)
  5. In retrospect, do you have anything you should have donebefore coming to US?
  6. What kind of support would you want to have regarding English?
  7. All in all, how much did your experience improve your English skills?

Interview Summary

Interviewee 1

Part I
  1. English conversation class before going an elementary school, English class (not a standard curriculum) and ECC(private English school) in elementary school, usual English class (a standard curriculum) in Jr and Sr high school
    When undergrad, had 3 years of English class, took an intensive class taught by native English speaker in the last semester before coming to US
    In short, much more English education than most of students in Japan, but this ended up hating to study English simply because these were not to the interviewee's will
    Stayed in UK to learn English in sophomore year, only to realize his lack of Engilsh skills ('breakdown') there
  2. TOEFL approx. 360 when freshman, nearly 460 before coming to US
  3. Motivated by the experience in UK
  4. In the intensive English class described above, communication with the teacher was in English
Part II
  1. IEC (International English Center) in CU for 9 month (4 quaters), did not extend the stay to concentrate on preparing for TOEFL in Japan
  2. The classes consisted of grammar, reading/writing and speaking, the entire class experience could be replicated in Japan
  3. Stayed in Willam Village together with another Japanese student for the first quater without much opportunity to speak English, then moved out of WV and stayed with a host family for 2 quaters with a bit more chance to speak English, then finally came back to WV to hang out with English-speaking friends there in the last quater, which required much more necessity to speak English.
  4. It is very difficult to overcome the difference between native and non-native English speaker
    Sometimes what the interviewee said were not understood by native speakers
    lack of grammatical knowledge
  5. Studying grammar and writing more, since there was not much motivation to learn them in US
  6. Conversation partner possibly assigned by IEC
  7. Encouraged by the actual use of English, at least come to like it. English skills enhanced dramatically in the last quater living in WV.

Interviewee 2

Part I
  1. Usual jr and sr high English classes, univ classes, NHK radio course and watching movie. Typical of most Japanese students.
    Stayed in a farm in Australia for 4 weeks, realized his English skill and grammatical knowledge not useful
  2. Placement test held by CSE (Colorado School of English): writing, grammar: intermediate, speaking, listening: beginner
  3. Wanted to know more about the nature, outdoor activities and national parks in US.
  4. Almost no opportunity
Part II
  1. 3 months in CSE, then moved to semi-private lesson for 6 months. Quitted CSE because there was not much opportunity to speak in the classroom with 15 students.
  2. CSE: conversation (discussion on the given topic), writing and grammar which were not so different from those taught in Japan
    In the semi-private lesson Mountain Bike Action (magazine) was used as a text, 3 hours of writing review followed by 2 hours of oral reading and discussion
  3. Stayed with a host family, some opportunities to speak in the house. Visited many national parks and spoke with rangers there. Still felt not acuquiring enough skills compared with the effort due to the difficulty of achieving native-level skills.
  4. Spoken words were sometimes not understood. As a result of private lesson, the ears were too much tuned to the lecturer and had difficulty in listening to others.
  5. Should have studied more grammar and vocabulary in Japan. Those were actually useful in US. Should have created more opportunity to use English in Japan
  6. English skills improved much better, possibly because of the lack of skills at first. Especially vocabulary was improved, which instead helped reading, conversation and listening.

Interviewee 3

Part I
  1. Ordinary English classes in jr and sr high school, went to NOVA (private English conversation school) for 3 years in between, and visited San Diego for 2 weeks but didn't use English much there.
    Entered a univ dedicated to English education, took IES (intensive English studies) class in sophomore year, which was taught in English.
  2. TOEFL approx 520, listening was a bit problematic but grammar was OK, reading part was so so.
  3. Wanted to experience US culture, 'curiousity'. Wants to be a ground staff of airline companies.
  4. Nothing outside classes, but spoke in English in IES class.
Part II
  1. So far 8 months (2 semesters), first semester in IEC of CU and second semester (now) taking regular classes (Linguistics, Japanese Film Cultuer, Math) in CU.
  2. Intermediate classes of IEC were too easy, not so useful. Especially speaking class was even childish.
  3. Stays in dorms, has interaction with many English speaking friends.
  4. Pronunciation is difficult, sometimes not understood.
  5. Should have communicated more with international students in Japan.
    should have studied harder for the entrance exam and TOEFL, more vocabulary
  6. Raise the level of IEC, support to give more opportunity to communicate with others, some assistance to find a host family
  7. Listening has been improved, learned slangs which are actually necessary for daily communication.

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