Preparation for an international exchange program: a phenomenological analysis of prospective english language teachers’ lived and imagined experiences

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2016
Çiftçi, Emrullah Yasin
Since the Erasmus exchange program promises sociocultural experiences in different cross-cultural and educational contexts, it can contribute to the development of prospective English language teachers. However, participants’ preparation experiences and thought patterns prior to the program may influence the quality and outcomes of the sociocultural experiences abroad. This study, therefore, aimed to explore preparation experiences of three Turkish prospective English language teachers who chose to study in England for a 4-month period. With a focus on future-oriented thought patterns and lived experiences throughout their preparation period, the study aimed to have an understanding of the period from the decision-making process to the final day at the home context. In order to reach the study aims, three semi-structured interviews over a six-month period were conducted with each participant. Participants were also asked to write their imagined one week experience in the target community, and their smart-phone messaging related to the preparation process was observed. Each data analysis step involved analysis of each unique case. After all cases were completed and reported, convergences and divergences were sought for under superordinate themes. Lastly, interpretative/hermeneutic endeavors were deployed to bring a depth to the emerged themes. Through this interpretative phenomenological analysis, it was found that participants’ experiences were shaped by complex and dynamic decision-making process, a stressful formal preparation, a chaotic and undervalued informal preparation, emerging (inter)cultural dynamics involving target culture, and interrelated future-oriented dynamic thought patterns. Following these themes, a need for preparing future study abroad participants for short-term international exchange programs emerged.

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Citation Formats
E. Y. Çiftçi, “Preparation for an international exchange program: a phenomenological analysis of prospective english language teachers’ lived and imagined experiences,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2016.