Study Abroad and Second Language Use: Constructing the Self

Language plays an essential role in how we portray our personalities. Through social interaction, others develop a picture of us based on our linguistic cues. However, when we interact in a foreign language and in a new country, limitations in linguistic and cultural knowledge can make self-presentation a more difficult task. This book explores the problems faced by language students embarking on ‘study abroad’ programmes, spending time in a foreign country and having to interact - and express their personalities - in a second language. Drawing on her extensive work with students, Valerie Pellegrino Aveni explores the factors that complicate self-presentation and the strategies students use for overcoming these, looking in particular at issues of anxiety, control, age, gender, risk-taking and self-esteem. Offering rich insights into the study abroad experience, this book will be an invaluable resource for professionals in second language acquisition, and for teachers and students preparing for study abroad.

• Features extensive diaries and interviews, which provide a unique perspective on the study abroad experience • Incorporates literature from second language acquisition, social psychology, and communication • Looks at the concept of ‘self’, which has not as yet been treated in depth in the field of second language acquisition


1. Language use in a social context; 2. Communicative goals; 3. The social dance: second language and the construction of self; 4. Learners and their environment: factors affecting self-construction; Coming into our own: the convergence of real self and ideal self; 5. Conclusion: The self in second language: implications and next steps.


\'…interesting new insights into the nature of foreign language learning outside the classroom… the first full-full length monograph on study abroad… richly illustrated discussion of American learners\' experiences in Russia… offers a pleasant change of pace and focus from the common-place discussions of identity construction by learners of english around the world.\' International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism