Student Motivation

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Global Student Experience, Association des Etats Généraux des Etudiants de l’Europe / European Students’ Forum (AEGEE), American Institute For Foreign Study (AIFS), European Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students (ERASMUS) and Education Abroad Program (EAP). These are the most well-known study abroad programmes not just in Europe but in the whole world. These programmes provide opportunity for students, teachers and personnel to learn and work in a study abroad context. According to the programmes’ official websites, the participation increases the students’ mobility, develop their cultural awareness and give a useful and lifelong experience. The European Union expanded the borders in Europe, so nowadays it is much easier to spend a few months or even a year in a foreign university. The most popular study abroad programme in Hungary is ERASMUS. Between 1998 and 2008 more than 25,000 undergraduates had been studied in a foreign university from the 63 Hungarian universities. Although the study-abroad programme has bigger popularity in the celebrated institutions, almost every university and college have sent and received students. According to the home page of Tempus Public Foundation, in 2009 almost four hundred students participated in the programme in twenty-five European countries from the University of Pécs (UP). Besides, UP has student mobility contracts with universities from the United States of America and Japan too. Motivation is a significant point in learning issues especially in language learning. Motivation can be categorized in several ways. But the concept of motivation can be divided into two parts: the first one is language learning motivation; the second one is motivation to study abroad. Language learning motivation ‘involves the attitudes and affective states that influence the degree of effort that learners make to learn an L2’ (Ellis, 1997, p. 75). Study abroad motivation consists of three components, according to Elizabeth Murphy-Lejeune (2002). We can study the foreign language learners’ motivations in these two ways too. Therefore, motivation is a major issue in language learning which can be effectively studied among learners who spend a semester or one academic year in a foreign university. The study abroad context can influence the students’ learning methods, cultural views and behaviours. Why do students learn foreign languages? How will they use their second language knowledge? Why do they decide to join the ERASMUS programme? What do they think about and are they satisfied with the programme? My thesis focuses on these questions. I have made an overview about ERASMUS students’ experiences and expectations about the time they have spent in Pécs. I interviewed six foreign students from different countries and I asked the same questions. I have analyzed and compared the answers to make a comprehensive study about the ERASMUS programme’s goals and results. The first chapter overviews the literature on language learning motivation and study abroad programmes, but mostly the ERASMUS programme. The concept of motivation and the knowledge of its varieties are very important to understand and examine properly the students’ aims while they are in a study abroad context. In the second chapter I introduce the context of the interviews and then I explain the interview questions which the basic data of my thesis are. In the data analysis section I elaborate the answers of the participants which supply the results of my research. The results give an overview about the aims and goals of the ERASMUS programme and also focus on the interviewees’ achievements, ideas, and reflections. The conclusion contains the short summary of the findings and it also leaves open the door for further examinations in the future.

Chapter 1: The Context of Motivation and Study-Abroad Programmes

1.1 Motivation of Students

Why do students start to...
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