SOAS University of London

Japanese Year Abroad

Contact: Barbara Pizziconi 
Department: SOAS Japan and Korea Department


This project examined the impact of the year abroad programme on vocabulary acquisition and cultural images for students in the SOAS Japanese language degree.


The study examined the impact of the year abroad on linguistic proficiency and cultural images of SOAS degree students. The study was conducted by means of written questionnaires covering demographic data, vocabulary tests and questionnaires on stereotypes. Two cohorts of students, belonging to two different programmes (undertaking their year abroad in either year II or III of a SOAS degree respectively) were compared in order to evaluate the pros and cons of the different curricula.

Aims and objectives

The year abroad is by now an established practice and it is perceived by students and teachers as a vital component of language degrees, but there is little empirical evidence of its effects, especially in the case of Oriental and African languages. The study has formalised a process of reflection on the validity of such curricular choice, which can inform present and future pedagogical practices.

The results of the study (a partial replication of a study on European Languages) are likely to be generalisable to other Japanese language degrees, and possibly to other languages where the learners’ native and target language are geographically and culturally distant.

Products, Outputs & Outcomes

The final report of the project is now available.