Military Spouses and their Language Learning Experiences Overseas: Does the support exist?
AffiliationUniversity of Southern Indiana
TitleMilitary Spouses and their Language Learning Experiences Overseas: Does the support exist?
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When someone has an opportunity to live in a foreign country for an extended period of time, a great opportunity presents itself, where a person can learn the local language and culture during their time immersed in the local community. However, without proper language and culture introduction and training, a person may be met with detrimental culture shock and heightened stereotypical prejudiced thoughts that hinder or complicate language learning and acculturation. Research has shown that the more someone prepares for and engages in the foreign language and culture, the more positive and enriching experience the person seems to undergo before, during, and even after their stay in a different culture. Military personnel and their families are often displaced in foreign locations where they undergo different acculturating experiences. Preliminary research into the topic seems to indicate that there is very little attention that has been given to military spouses’ language learning and cultural experiences. Using a qualitative approach, this research paper argues for the importance of providing proper language and culture education to support positive acculturation experiences of military spouses during their stay abroad. Data were collected from interviews with US military spouses regarding existing programs that military spouses have access to and their perspectives of the effectiveness of these programs. Recommendations for more effective support programs and a better access to existing programs will be provided. These recommendations not only will shed light on the acculturation process that military spouses undergo while living abroad, but will also provide a more reliable and targeted path specifically catered toward military spouses. Instead of the existing programs that do not advocate very strongly towards language and culture education for military spouses, a new direction for this focus will be recommended to support current and future spouses stationed overseas.