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Durham University

School of Education

Research Projects

Mr Ian Moore

Member of the School of Education

Contact Mr Ian Moore


I completed a BA in German and Teaching English as a Foreign Language at Swansea University, and an MSc in Applied Linguistic and Second Language Acquisition at Oxford University. I am now currently a PhD student in the Department of Education.

My PhD, which is funded through the ESRC, aims at investigating learner change as a result of completing a year abroad. Within this term ‘change’, I’m interested in ascertaining how going abroad influences one’s linguistic gain, and more so, how sojourning impacts one’s personality. Does personality serve as a valid individual difference in linguistic gain? Does the year abroad achieve the changes it sets out to achieve? For example, do learners return home more resilient, curious? How does personality fluctuate throughout the year abroad, both day-to-day and month-to-month? Lastly, the study aims to establish the situational constituents which may trigger such personality change e.g. loneliness, participation in a club etc. While there is a swath of anecdotal evidence purporting the year abroad, empirical evidence is lacking concerning how learners actually change across the year. The changes experienced in those abroad will then be compared to a stay-at-home control group.

It is hoped that the findings of this study will provide a model from which student expectations can be better realised. The dangers of over-hyping the year abroad are real and can result in learner disappointment and frustration. I wish for this study to present a map of how one’s thoughts, feelings and behaviours can fluctuate during the year abroad, the antecedents to such change, and most importantly offer guidance on how one can minimise negative thoughts and behaviours. This can then be presented in pre-departure workshops across the country and in preparation materials for the year abroad. Moreover, it is hoped mental health services will have a better indication of when their services may be most in demand, both for sojourners and domestic students.

The study will take place across the academic year 2018/2019 with a number of universities of differing proficiency levels being asked to participate. Student participation is completely voluntary. The study is funded by the ESRC.

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