Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Mariola Perez de la Cruz

Second Advisor

Michael Millar

Third Advisor

German Zarate-Sandez


The purpose of this study is to measure the linguistic benefits of learning a foreign language in a study abroad immersion program through Western Michigan University’s (WMU) Spanish department. The participants in this study were all participants of the Santander, Spain program of the Summer II semester of 2017. Nineteen students in total went to Spain and eleven of them agreed to participate in this study. During the Spring 2017 semester the eleven participants were given a pre-departure questionnaire and oral interview where they were asked demographic questions as well as program-specific information. During the last week in Santander, Spain each student was given a post-trip questionnaire and interview where they were asked about their experience in Spain, including travel experiences, budget and what they learned about the culture. The pre- and post-interviews were analyzed to see what lexical and grammatical mistakes were made and then compared to see how much each participant improved linguistically over the two-month duration of the Santander, Spain study abroad program. Various non-linguistic factors were also analyzed using the information collected in the questionnaires in order to determine if they had an effect on linguistic growth. The statistical software SPSS was used to analyze multiple values to determine their significance and thus their relation to the linguistic changes seen. The results show that both the increase in fluency and decrease in the number of lexical and vocabulary errors were significant and that the analyzed non-linguistic factors were not found to have a significant effect on these linguistic changes.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access