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Abstract

This paper explores the aims, operation and outcomes of the MEET project (Maximise Erasmus Exchange Together), a project which commenced in the Department of Languages, DIT in the 2014/2015 academic year, and contributes to wider discussion on learning in study abroad (SA) contexts. The staff-led MEET initiative sought to engage students more effectively in their preparation for year abroad study and work placements. It brought together approximately twenty 20 students in second-year and fourth-year of BA (Hons) programmes in Languages and International Business or Tourism as well as Erasmus students from a variety of different programmes, who were studying at the Dublin Institute of Technology. Students took on group leadership roles to organise and deliver a range of co-curricular and extra-curricular social and cultural events, for which and at which particular language-learning activities were undertaken. Questionnaires, semi-structured interviews and empirical observations attest to the value for student learning and confidence of the interventions and actions undertaken. The findings suggest that student preparedness for work and study abroad programmes, in themselves significant transition and transformative experiences, is enhanced when students are more consciously engaged in concerted efforts to initiate and reflect on their own learning and behaviours prior to SA experiences. The research also highlights issues around student motivation and willingness to engage with non-programme related learning and reflects on individualised learning pathways. The research will be of particular interest to those involved in language and intercultural teaching and learning, and to those preparing students for study and work placements abroad.

DOI

10.21427/D7T71F

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