Investigating the contribution of the European Union Erasmus+ youth exchange project to foreign language learning
Keywords:Erasmus Youth Exchange Project; speaking skills; motivation; out-of-class activities; non-formal education; foreign language learning.
The purpose of this study is to investigate the views of the participants of European Union Erasmus+ Youth Exchange project regarding its effect on foreign language motivation and speaking fluency development. Foreign language motivation and speaking are two significant aspects of learning English as a foreign language. There are some studies on the effects of Erasmus+ projects; however, there are very few studies on the effect of Erasmus+ Youth Exchange projects in the literature. Having a qualitative design, this study utilizes purposive sampling method, and participants are those who attended the Erasmus+ Youth Exchange projects implemented between 2014 and 2020. The data were collected via a standardized open-ended interview. The interviews were transcribed and qualitatively analyzed by Content Analysis method via MAXQDA 2018 Qualitative Data Analysis Software. The findings of the research revealed that according to the views of the participants, EU Erasmus+ Youth Exchange Project provided several benefits to participants in terms of improving foreign language level, and the project contributed to their English-speaking fluency and foreign language learning motivation. More specifically, points such as opportunities to do practice, negative comments on Turkish Education System, educational equality provided by Erasmus+ projects and follow-up activities carried out after projects were mentioned by the participants. These findings have implications for learning and teaching English as a foreign language.
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