Date of Award

Summer 6-25-2020

Document Type

Dissertation - University of Massachusetts Global access only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Carlos V. Guzman

Second Advisor

Jeffrey Lee

Third Advisor

Sam Garzaniti


Purpose: The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine and compare short term (4- to 6-week) Study Abroad (SA) experience’ impact on Chinese, Korean, Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and Russian military linguist trainees’ second language (L2) learning self-efficacy.

Methodology: This nonexperimental quantitative study examined the effects of SA on second language (L2) learners’ self-efficacy. This study adopted the method of secondary data analysis by analyzing archived data collected by Defense Language Institute (DLI)’s Immersion Language Office (ILO) from Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 to 2018. ILO’s post-immersion self-assessment survey covered ten aspects of L2 self-efficacy and was used as a research instrument in this study. The sample of the study was the DLI’s Chinese, Korean, Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and Russian immersion participants from FY 2014 to 2018. The sample size of this study was approximately 1,880.

Findings: Descriptive analysis indicated that self-efficacy of all four language programs’ immersion participants was substantially enhanced after their overseas trips. In addition, ANOVA analysis revealed that there was significant statistical difference in overseas immersion’s effects on participants from the four language programs in four out of ten aspects of self-efficacy, including learners’ motivation, confidence, communication strategies and willingness to take risks. The findings in this study provided evidence for various stakeholders to plan and to implement SA programs for military linguist trainees in the future.

Conclusions: Short-term SA experiences consistently improved self-efficacy of L2 learners across all language programs though the effectiveness varied in different programs. It is concluded that military language training organizations, such as DLI, should continue and expand short-term SA opportunities to military linguist trainees. In addition, it is critical to examine and improve each SA program’s efficacy and to motivate learners via this unique experience.

Recommendations: Based on the conclusions of this study, it is recommended that leaders at military language training institutions should actively seek funding for future SA. It is also recommended that stakeholders at these organizations should develop strategies in improving the quality of short-term SA programs and use it as a motivational tool for military linguist trainees.