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In this chapter the term motivation is defined, like also different theories of motivation are to be described, which are related to learning a second language and studying abroad. Moreover, the importance of the culture and other factors regarding learning a language and going abroad are presented.
Motivation is seen as a feeling of enthusiasm or interest that makes a person determined to do something or a reason for doing something. It has been defined by many theorists, one of the definitions of the motivation was provided by Brophy (1998, p.3). According to him, it is 'a theoretical construct used to explain the initiation, direction, intensity, and persistence of behaviour, especially goal-directed behaviour.'
There existed three the most influential periods of second language motivation research which included the social psychological period (1959-1990), the cognitive-situated period ( during the 1990s) and the process-oriented period (2000-2005).
In the social psychological period, Gardner's theory of second language acquisition called the Social-Educational Model of Second Language Acquisition postulated that integrative motivation, language aptitude and other factors influenced the language achievement. Integrative motivation consisted of three main components, such as integrativeness, attitudes towards the learning situation and motivation. The integrativeness involved integrative orientation, interest in foreign language and attitudes towards the foreign language community "reflecting the 'individual's' willingness and interest in social interaction with members of other groups"(Gardner, MacIntyre, 1993, cited in Dörnyei 2001b, p.50).Attitudes towards the learning situation subsumed attitudes towards the language teacher and the language course. Motivation could be defined as the desire, effort and attitude toward learning.
Although Gardner's theory has been recognized by other second language researchers they seemed to pay more attention only to two main motivational constituents, such as integrative orientation which is also called an interpersonal/affective dimension, and a practical/utilitarian dimension which is connected with the benefits that language proficiency bring about, such as career or getting a promotion. For instance, Dörnyei and Clément (2000) found in their study conducted in Hungary that students who were learning English and had a very limited contact with English-native speakers wanted to learn English because of the integrativeness. Gardner was also the author of The Attitude/Motivation Test Battery (AMTB), which was a motivation questionnaire made up of over 130 items and has been adapted by other researchers in their studies. The AMTB assessed both motivation and motivated behaviour.
Richard Clément was another influential researcher in the social psychological period. Self-confidence was the crucial factor studied by Clément and his colleagues. It was defined as the ability to produce results and accomplish goals. According to Clément, Gardner and Smythe (1997) self confidence made an impact on a person's motivation to learn and use the language of the other speech communities. They stated that self-confidence was a crucial factor in learning second language and determined the learner's desire for intercultural communication (cited in Dörnyei, 2005, p.73).
The cognitive-situated period is well known because of the self-determination theory. Deci & Ryan (1985,2002) focused in their research on different types of intrinsic and extrinsic motives. One of the main proponents of paying attention to intrinsic motivation in the second language classroom was Douglas Brown (1990, 1994). Noels (2001) found in her research that Gardner's integrative orientation was strongly related to the self-determined focus of motivation. Noels (2003) suggested that motivation consisted of three components, such as intrinsic reasons involving learning language, because it is enjoyable. Extrinsic reasons included external reasons, such as promotion. Thirdly, integrative reasons were related to the positive contact with the second language group and possible identification within this group. Bernard Weiner (1992) was the main proponent of the attribution theory. According to him, 'the subjective reasons to which we attribute our past successes and failures shape our motivational disposition underlying future action.' (cited in Dörnyei, 2005, p.79).The attribution theory was supported by Williams and Burden who proved in 1999 that attributions involving the cultural background of the students made an huge impact on people's perceptions of learning.
In the process oriented period, the Dörnyei and Otto Model of L2 Motivation (1998) had further influences on other researchers. In this model, three stages can be distinguished. Firstly, a preactional stage, in which motivation needs to be generated. This stage is also known as choice motivation, because it leads to the selection of task that person would pursue. Secondly, an actional stage, in which the generated motivation has to be actively maintained. This executive motivation is particularly important for studying the second language. Thirdly, a postactional stage which is also defined as motivational representation, which is related to the person's retrospective evaluation of how things went. In other words, it is the way that learners process their past experiences which will make an impact on the activities that they will be motivated to do in the future (Dörnyei, 2001b, p.85).
Empirical studies on motivational evolution have been carried out by Shoaib and Dörnyei who discovered many motivational transformation episodes in students' lives that influenced their motivational disposition. They identified six motivational specific temporal themes such as: motivation and gradually increasing interest, standstill period, moving into a new life phase, internalizing external goals, relationship with significant others, and time spent in host environment ( Dörnyei, 2005, p.88).
These periods influenced many new conceptual issues related to motivation, such as motivational self-regulation or the neurobiology of motivation (see Dörnyei, 2005, p.90-93).
Although these theories are very important, I would like to focus mainly on the researchers related to the motives that determined students to learn the second language and study abroad.
According to Gardner (1979) , teaching a language can be seen as imposing elements of another culture into the students own lives (cited in Dörnyei, 2001b, p.47). For instance, in order to learn English, students need to develop English identity they need to think English, it is like becoming a bit English. Another researcher, Douglas Brown (1989) stated that 'person who uses a language to express target culture needs to understand the culture out of which it emerges'(cited in Dörnyei, 2001a, p.14).
Motivation is defined as the need or enthusiasm for doing something while student motivation concerns students' willingness to become a participant in the learning situation. Furthermore, it is connected to the reasons or goals which influence their involvement in learning. Despite the fact that students tended to be equally motivated to perform a task, their motives appeared to be different. For instance, people learn languages because of the perceived need for additional languages. According to Sternberg (2002), there exists a practical need to learn additional languages, therefore the languages are taught with this practical use in mind (cited in Dörnyei, 2005, p.65).
Motivating an individual means to persuade a person by arranging the circumstances so the person is likely to behave as we wanted. According to Lepper, an intrinsically motivated student undertakes an activity 'for its own sake, for the enjoyment it provides, the learning it permits, or the feelings of accomplishment it evokes' (Lepper,1988). People who are intrinsically motivated work on tasks because they find them interesting and enjoyable. It does not depend on explicit rewards or other external constraints. In comparison, extrinsic motivation refers to a work on task which will result in desirable outcomes, such as reward or getting a job. Student who is extrinsically motivated performs 'in order to obtain some reward or avoid some punishment external to the activity itself,' for example, grades or teacher's approval (Lepper, 1988). According to Gottfried & Lepper, learning for intrinsic reasons is more enjoyable and is connected with learning achievement, it is more efficient that learning for extrinsic reasons.
The motivation to learn has a different meaning. It is described by Marshall (1987) as 'the meaningfulness, value, and benefits of academic tasks to the learner-regardless of whether or not they are intrinsically interesting'. Brophy (2004, p.15) suggested that motivation to learn is mainly a cognitive response which involves attempts to make sense of information that activities convey. Students motivation to learn can be seen either as a general disposition or as a situation-specific state. In a disposition, students' approach consists of learning with effort in order to acquire knowledge. However, in the specific situations, students are engaged in activities by trying to learn the concepts they develop. He argued also that students try to find academic activities meaningful and worthwhile and to receive the intended learning benefits from them (Brophy, 2004, p.16). It is said also that motivation to learn is characterized by long-term, quality involvement in learning and commitment to the process of learning (Ames, 1990).
According to Brophy (1998, p.13), motivation to learn is a competence acquired through general experience but stimulated most directly through modelling, communication of expectations, and direct instruction or socialization by significant others, especially parents and teachers. Gardner (1985) claimed that parents play two main roles in their children' learning process. Firstly, they play an active role, including encouragement, monitoring and support. Secondly, parents play a passive role, which include indirect modelling and communicating attitudes related to a second language learning and community (cited in Dörnyei, 2001b, p. 78-79). This view is shared by self-determination theorists, who claimed that children learned from parents and other significant adults if their behaviour seemed to be valued in the society (Stipek, 2002, p.142). According to Hallam (2005, p.17),'the desire for social approval, especially from those we admire and respect, leads us to behave in a particular way.' The family has an important role to play in enhancing motivation to learn from the early years, when they grow up teachers and other peers become relevant as well. 'Teachers act as role models and provide inspiration for their pupils'( Hallam, 2005, p. 22).
Deci and Ryan(1985) claimed that people become more self-determined in performing a particular behaviour to the extent that they have possibilities of experience autonomy, competence and relatedness. Students, in particular, seek to satisfy these values, which can be achieved by travelling to another country. According to The Geert Hofstede Model of Cultural Dimensions, Poland can be considered as more individualistic society than collectivistic (scoring a 60 on the scale of Hofstede). In individualistic countries, people are brought up to look after themselves and their immediate families. They clearly see themselves as an individual entity. In Poland, people concentrate on personal achievements and their individual rights. Poles expected from each other to fulfill their needs. The group work is relatively important, but every member of society has the right of his/her own opinion and is expected to respect them. In Poland, people seem to have more loose relationships than in collectivistic countries in which people have large extended families. The Hofstede Model of Cultural Dimensions, might be very useful, although the averages of a country do not always relate to individuals of that country. It should be taken into account that not all individuals are the same, and even though this model has been proven to be quite often correct when applied to general population, there exist also exceptions to the rule (cited in Cornes, 2004, p.112-113).
Culture takes an important part in the learning a foreign language. 'It has been stated that a person cannot be truly aware of his own cultural programming until he has experienced being in another culture'(Cornes, 2004, p.11). People who have the study abroad experience get a different perspective on their own countries. They increased their ability of being empathetic. In other words, they are able to view a problem from somebody's point of view. 'In cross-cultural interactions, this means to be able to imagine or experience something from another's frame of reference or worldview'(cited in Cornes, 2004, p.50). Furthermore, in order to communicate well with the second language speakers, students need to establish a good connection with the target language and its culture, because a language and a culture of its speakers cannot be analyzed in isolation (Sapir, 1920, cited in Hinkel, 1999, p.2). It was stated, that the learning of a second language involves apart from learning grammar and vocabulary the adoption of new social and cultural behaviours and ways of being, and has an important impact on the social nature of the learner (Williams,1994, cited in Dörnyei, 2005, p. 68). On the other hand, Byram and Morgan (1994, p.43) claimed that learners cannot easily forget their own culture and step into another, because their culture is part of their identities and created them as social beings.
Many people do not realize that their assumptions of other people from different cultures and backgrounds are not adequate until they have got an opportunity to meet them and talk to them. People seem to see what they expect or want to see, and very easily they confirm a particular stereotype by choosing evidence which supports it and ignoring that which undermines it. One way of breaking down these stereotypes is to meet people from other cultural background and become more open-minded which means that a person has a will to listen to other people in order to understand their point of view and respect it.
Albright said that 'every student should have the opportunity to travel and come into contact with a foreign country. A study abroad experience gives a student the chance to truly live in a different culture and learn about it firsthand, while sharing information about his or her own culture'. Britain is known as a multicultural society. Tony Blair, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, (2/October/2001) stated that 'We celebrate the diversity in our country, get strength from the cultures and the races that go to make up Britain today.' Meeting new people from different cultural backgrounds is a rewarding experience because the person can be encouraged to get to know other cultures, traditions and customs. On the other hand, according to Smith and Bond (1993, p.183), 'most bilinguals follow the law of least effort and avoid second language encounters outside the workplace. Instead, they socialize within their own linguistic communities.' It often happens within the students abroad, that they prefer socializing with the people from their native country.
The impacts of an international experience enable students not only to receive better qualifications recognized all over the world but also are seen as being influential on personal development and intercultural awareness (Dwyer, 2004). Graduate schools and employers view favourably individuals with foreign experience (Herberger, 2003). It is seemed to be that these individuals possess the adaptive skills to react to unknown situations and resolve problems, like also they are willing to learn and experience new things.
The experience of study abroad is considered to be valuable because of the following issues, such as students can practice a language and they develop the ability to thrive in and adapt to a culture different from their own. Students engage in a life-altering experiences, that challenge their fundamental assumptions about the world. It is directly related to the stereotypes that people posses in one culture about the others. Finally, students learn to be self-sufficient, to thrive in a foreign country, they become more confident and independent.
3.Methods of Investigation
This chapter is intended to present the procedure and methods of the research which involved questionnaires and interviews. In addition to that, advantages and disadvantages connected to the use of these research methods are described, followed by limitations of this project.
The survey was conducted among Polish students by using the questionnaire (Appendix 1 (the sample is written in both, Polish and English, although subjects received a questionnaire only in Polish)) and interviews. In total, 20 students were involved in the research. The questionnaires were distributed between 15th and 23rd of February 2010 at the University of Bedfordshire (Social Learning Space and classrooms). Filling the questionnaire lasted for 10-15minutes.
The findings from questionnaires were analyzed on the 2nd of March 2010. 20 questionnaires were distributed to subjects personally. The subjects apart from completing the questionnaires have been interviewed by face-to-face interview. Subjects were asked for their feelings and attitudes concerning the reasons of learning English and their choice of studying abroad.
The information collected seemed to be valid and reliable respectively. Validity explains or measures what I assumed it would be explaining or measuring in the qualitative research. Agreement of few data sources on particular issue increases the reliability of the interpretation of data. For instance, how certain I would be if another researcher did the research? Would have the results/interpretations of data been the same?
The collection data by different methods on the same issue and comparing findings from one method to the findings from another is called triangulation. For example, if the outcomes of a questionnaire correspond to those of interview as the researcher I would be more confident about the findings. Triangulation is needed for increasing validity and reliability.
Questionnaires and interviews were conducted in Polish, because of following reasons. Firstly, knowing that both me and my interviewees were Polish, it would have been not natural if I spoke to them in English. Secondly, my respondents felt more comfortable by obtaining information in Polish. As non-native speakers of English, both me and the subjects, I wanted to avoid the impression of being assessed due to the proficiency of English. Lastly, misunderstandings in communication were minimized because of the first language that the data were obtained which was Polish.
Advantages of the questionnaires were that I did not have to know who completed them, except for aspects, such as the age or gender and they did not have any identifying features such as names, or occupational details which ensured students' anonymity. This anonymity was assumed to encourage people to disclose facts, experiences or attitudes that they would not disclose to me, for example in a face-to-face interview. There was a brief explanation of the purpose of the questionnaire and the research that respondents took part in with the guarantee of the anonymity and confidentiality on each questionnaire. Confidentiality is the other way of protecting participants' rights to privacy. The principal of ensuring confidentiality meant that even though I knew who has provided the information, I would not reveal the participants' identities to the public. In the case of questionnaires, they had the advantage over the interviews, because they seemed to be more reliable due to the anonymity. However, the same questions might have had different meanings for various people and I was unable of checking the honesty or truth of the data provided by subjects. In addition to that, one of the weaknesses of the questionnaires was that the information collected tended to describe, rather than explain why things were the way they were.
In the questionnaire occurred 2 questions which seemed to be similar to each other, although they were not the same. The question number 5 Who or what motivated you to make the decision to study abroad? and the question number 6 What was/were the main reason/s why you wanted to study abroad? In the question number 5, students were supposed to give their answer according to their personal experiences without any answer suggested by the researcher. This was an open-ended question. It provided the opportunity to gain authenticity, honesty and the depth of response. On the other hand, in the question number 6 the possible answers were available. It was an example of multiple-choice questions, so they could have just ticked the answer that they felt mostly comfortable with. On the other hand, the drawback of such types of questions was that different respondents might have interpreted the same words differently. Regardless of open-ended questions and multiple-choice questions, closed questions were used as well in order to obtain some straightforward data, such as the age or gender.
Interviews were conducted in order to validate the questionnaires, and to get a deeper insight into the answers given by subjects and their reasons for responding as they did in the questionnaires. The research interview was defined as 'a two-person conversation initiated by the interviewer for the specific purpose of obtaining research-relevant information, and focused by him [sic] on content specified by research objectives of systematic description, prediction or explanation' ((Cannel and Kahn, 1968:527) as cited in Cohen, Manion, Morrison, 2000,p.269).
According to Silverman (1993(as cited in Cohen, Manion, Morrison, 2000, p.121)), 'one way of controlling for reliability is to have a highly structured interview, with the same format, sequence of words and questions for each respondent.' Silverman (1993) claimed that it was crucial for each interviewee to understand the question in the same way.
A face-to-face interview gave the possibility of validating the information. The interviewer was able to sense whether the interviewee has been given false data in the direct contact in a way that is impossible with the questionnaires, by taking into the account the body language and the facial expression. I have used the 'probality' sampling techniques based on the idea that the people that were chosen as the sample were chosen because I expected that these would be a representative cross-section of people in the whole population being studied.
The interviewer effect was associated with the researcher's and respondents' personal identity. The sex, age, ethnic origin could not have been changed, although I could make an effort of being polite and respective towards my interviewees, in order to create a right climate for respondents to feel comfortable and provide frank answers. In order to achieve greater validity I have tried to avoid bias in interviews which might have been caused by my opinions and expectations as being the interviewer.
Interviews similarly to the questionnaires involved some ethical issues, such as people concerned had a clear idea of why they have been asked to participate. Secondly, I provided them basic information about the purpose of the interview and the research project of which it was a part. Thirdly, the explanation of the reasons why I preferred to record the interview and ensuring confidentiality were given. Lastly, at the end of the interview, interviewees were asked whether they still gave me the permission of using the recording (full recordings are available on request). Subjects were ensured that information collected will not be made publicly available. Data will be stored in password-protected files along with information provided by the participants (including the consent forms) which will be retained until grading for the project and destroyed in September 2010.Details of interviewees would not be identified in the project, in order to do this when I quoted some of the subjects' utterances instead of their names I called them Speakers with the number.
After completing the questionnaires 5 students were asked whether they want to take part in the interview. The project was discussed in brief before conducting the interview. The interviews were arranged by calling subjects and telling them about the conditions of the interview, such as the time, place and duration of the interview. They were asked whether they preferred to conduct the interview in English or Polish. Their native language was chosen by all subjects. Interviews were conducted on the 5 of March 2010 in the Social Learning Space at the University of Bedfordshire, and each of them did not last longer than 15 minutes. The findings from interviews were analysed on the 10th of March 2010. Students were asked to read and sign the consent form (Appendix 2 (the samples are written in both, Polish and English, although the interviewees received it only in Polish)).
One of the strengths of being a student-researcher was that I knew the subjects, however such familiarity might have been also a drawback, for example, some aspects might have been taken for granted instead of being questioned like also I could have brought some personal issues into the interview situation. On the other hand, respondents seemed to be frank with me because they knew me and trusted me. I could only assume that the information were likely to be true. Finally, I have tried to gain a complete objectivity in my written report.
Limitations of the research might have involved the fact that only a small sample of people participated in the research. All interviews were conducted in one day, which might have caused taking some issues for granted by the interviewer. Recording used could cause a feeling of anxiety and could be influential on what the respondents said. Lastly, I could have made a different interpretation of the data provided by respondents, because I had to translate them and interpret them from Polish to English. On the other hand, information obtained seemed to be valid and reliable because of the use of the triangulation, as well as the described procedure seemed to be clear so another researcher could conduct this survey once more in the future.
6.Discussion and Analysis
This chapter provides analysis concerning reasons for learning English and studying abroad, based on the literature review and findings obtained from the research methods.
It was found that the vast majority of surveyed students claimed that better perspectives in the future was a reason for learning English which might be connected with Herberger's point of view that graduate schools and employers view favourably individuals with foreign experience. It is a well known fact, that employers expect that their employees would speak fluently at least two languages.
Respondents said that the dominance of English in the world was the reason for learning English. It is described very often as a global language, and in many instances is used as an international language of communications, diplomacy, science, business, and entertainment. According to the research by the British Council (16/3/2005), 'English has official or special status in at least seventy-five countries with a total population of over two billion. Around 750 million people are believed to speak English as a foreign language. One out of four of the world's population speak English to some level of competence.'
Being taught English in the primary and secondary school was the reason for some students to learn English. It is a common knowledge that, learning a second language is obligatory at the age of 10 in Poland. Enjoyment of learning languages was a reason for some subjects. These students according to Lepper were intrinsically motivated. They learned English because they found it interesting and pleasurable. In order to study in the UK, learners must have proved that their level of proficiency of their English was satisfactory. That was a reason for them to learn English as well.
Minority of subjects indicated that English was the easiest language to learn and use. For instance, there is only one definite article in English while a German language has three. It is a common knowledge that many words in English possess several meanings. It might be seen as an advantage for the beginners because there is an possibility of conveying various meanings by the use of the same word in a completely different context. However, this is very likely to cause confusion especially for people who just have begun learning it.
Many students claimed that parents and teachers motivated them to learn English and study abroad. It might be documented by the concept of the Gardner's integrative motive, in particular attitudes towards the learning situation which combine attitudes towards the language teacher and the language course. Interviewees indicated their parents or teachers as those who made an impact on achieving their goals. They helped them in various ways, for instance, giving the initial idea of studying in a foreign country and supporting them through the process of studying abroad. Brophy and Stipek also provided some facts about the impact that teachers and parents had on students. They helped students make decisions and were supportive when they needed them. Their significance came from being considered as those who are strongly valued in the society.
Better perspectives and gaining new experiences motivated them to study abroad. Employers look for the maturity, self-awareness that living away from home can provide. They also want to employ a person who can easily adapt to a new environment and is not afraid of being challenged, like also is willing to take risks which is related to living in another country. Employers are likely to employ a person who is devoted and can resolve problems by taking into consideration seeing issues from different perspectives which is connected to experiencing a life in a foreign culture. It is particularly useful, for people who think about their career in Business and their relationships with foreign partners. Speaker no 1 in the interview indicated that by going abroad people were believed to have an advantage in comparison to those who did not study abroad. That advantage is an example of people who are extrinsically motivated. This sort of motivation comes from outside an individual and is related to an extrinsic motivation. Satisfaction and pleasure can provide rewards that the task itself may not provide. However, being an extrinsically motivated person does not mean to be a person who does not experience any pleasure from doing it. It means that the pleasure they experience comes from external rewards which will motivate them in doing a task even though the task is not interesting or holds little interest.
Gaining independence and meeting new people from different backgrounds and adapting themselves to new surroundings was important. They found more about different customs and traditions like also they found it easier to understand and interact with people from various ethical backgrounds and cultures. This view was shared by Noels who claimed that integrative reasons were relevant motives concerning students, while studying abroad. In this case, positive contact with the target language community and opportunity to identify within the target group took place for few respondents. Proving ability to achieve something different than their friends was another reason.
The exposure to English was a reason for studying abroad for the vast majority of students, because living in the country of the target language was very likely to be the best way of learningÂ a language. It is seen as the fastest and effective way of learning a language when the person is immersed in the target language community. People learned that language when they needed it, and studying abroad enabled many possibilities of doing it. Prestige and the quality of the British university were other motives, as well as lack of the particular subject in Poland, such as Criminology. Studying English in the English native country will be much more beneficial than in a non-native country, because of the immersion and being "forced" to use English in every day situations.
Travelling abroad was a reason for less than a quarter of students. By studying abroad, an individual gains opportunities to travel and find out more about the history of the UK., and people living in this country. They get to know other customs and traditions, like also they enrich themselves by learning about new things, such as people's reactions and behaviours. They also become more empathetic, therefore they increased the ability to fully understand other people's perspective, both emotionally and intellectually.
Learning about traditions, culture, and society from the inside was the reason for more than a half of students to study abroad. According to Cornes, living in a different country gives the possibilities of understanding that people think differently in other countries. It also provides the cross-cultural experience gained from studying, living, and functioning effectively in another culture which requires a developmental process that is unique and can never be achieved by remaining at home. Similarly to the findings of research conducted by Dörnyei and Clément in 2000 in Hungary, Polish students might have learnt English because of the integrativeness.
Students chose studying abroad in order to be more independent and confident about themselves. They took the challenge of going abroad to study and agreed for all the difficulties that this decision could bring. In the result, they came out of the experience that gave them the capability of doing different things. They proved themselves and other people that they were mature enough to deal with problems without interfering their parents.
Breaking down the stereotypes about other culture was also important for some students. Polish people's expectations concerning the image of the UK very often did not match the reality. In other words, many Poles when the first time came to the UK did not expect to see so many different ethnic minorities, because as commonly known, Poland is seen as one of the most ethically homogenous countries in the world. For instance, Speaker no 4 was amazed by meeting so many cultures in one place and hearing many various languages at the same time. Respondents also had many opportunities to resolve hidden, negative feelings either for UK or for Poland concerning different stereotypes. Discovering the answers by such overseas experience gave them at least some balance in judging either culture and recognition of why they had these reactions with the possibility of resolving some of them. Interviewees did not specify any of the stereotypes that they had before coming to England, however some of the views about the UK from seeing on television or reading newspapers have changed for more positive ones after studying at the University of Bedfordshire.
More than a quarter said that the barrier to studying abroad was the language. People very often avoid socializing with people from different cultures, because it is very difficult for them to overcome a language barrier and they prefer speaking in their native language so they do not need to struggle and can express easily. It is totally different to speak English in the non-native country than in the native one. Students who studied in the UK found out that learning English in an environment where the language was used all the time was a more effective way of doing it than in their native country, like also rewarding.Â It increased their interest and desire to continue learning English.
Funding was another barrier to 5 students. The amount of tuition fee depends on the University which the person has chosen. For example, one academic year for undergraduate course 2009/2010 in the University of Bedfordshire costs £3, 225. It equals 14,025.68 Polish zloty (30/3/2010), it is a huge amount of money and not many people can afford it. Fortunately, there are some ways for overcoming such problem, such as loans, and in most of the cases the financial support is provided, in the form of bursaries or scholarships.
Homesickness was indicated by more than a quarter of respondents. It is common knowledge that Christmas and Easter are the most important celebrations during the year in Poland. Therefore, it was particularly hard for those students who had to stay in a foreign country during Christmas or Easter, unique times when all the members of their families gather together. Although people felt depressed and lonely there existed many means of technology, such as telephone or Internet that enabled to keep in touch with the family and friends who stayed at home country. Little knowledge about the actual life in the UK was another problem. There are still only few institutions in Poland which are responsible for informing students about living and studying abroad, what very often make students become discouraged and quit the idea of studying abroad. The easiest and the most available way of obtaining data regarding studying in a foreign country is through the Internet, however it is sometimes very risky to use the website as the valid source of information. Different rules and adapting themselves to a different environment was another difficulty, like also the approach of teaching at the universities in UK which differs from those in Poland.
British and Polish universities were compared due to the level of studies' difficulty. Majority of students who did not study in Poland indicated that studies could have been much harder than in the UK. They stated that lack of free time, and the difficulty of working and studying would have been problematic. On the other hand, some of the students who studied in Poland said that the studies in Poland would have been easier because there was no language barrier. However, the majority people who studied in Poland and the UK claimed that studies were much harder in their home country, because of long hours spent on studying, they also indicated that tutors were very demanding. Overall, studies in UK appeared to be less difficult than in Poland, which might have been another reason that Polish students chose studying in the University of Bedfordshire.