What experience of change brings learning language abroad

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Learning language abroad is very popular especially among young adults who want to develop their language skills or experience something new in their life (McLeod and Wainwright, 2008). The current study looked at four young individuals who decided to go abroad in order to experience some changes. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (Smith, Jarman, Osborn, 1999) revealed that although each person comes from a different background they are similar in the way they go through the process of change. Three main themes: Development, Motivation and Personal achievement emerged to answer the research question. All four participants experienced positive change through learning a language abroad. All participants went through the same step by step process which was earlier introduced by Prochaska as a 'Stages of Change Model' (SCM) (Prochaska, DiClemente, Norcross, 1992). However the process was not easy, it was time consuming, and it involved many factors which helped them to experience positive change. Motivation and exactly strong self-belief was found to be the most influential aspect among all individuals.

1. Introduction

"Learning a new language involves an alteration in self-image, the adoption of new social and cultural behaviours and ways of being, and therefore has a significant impact on the social nature of the learner".

Williams (1994)

Acquiring a new language is equivalent to acquiring new study skills which is usually seen by others as something, outstanding, and respectful (Brecht and Robinson, 2004). Compared to previous decades the phenomena of speaking foreign language was not as popular as nowadays. During the twenty first century the fast growing and developing world have given rise to new multinational organizations where communication in few languages is almost essential (Caligiuri, Jacobs, and Farr, 2000). Knight (2004) stated that the world of higher education has changed rapidly and the need of students having international qualifications became increasingly important therefore studying abroad and learning new languages is considered to be a strategy in developing new world. Due to this movement many organizations and educational institutions have started to come up with ideas to help students with studying foreign language, mostly by organizing summer language schools, during which young adults directly participate and learn the language in different country.

Motivation and the big life decision

Moving to a different country is an enormous step and life changing decision. Psychologists and sociologist who have tried to understand the reasons of studying abroad discovered that economical and educational factors are the most common motives for young adults who choose to go and study abroad (Allen, 2010). In order to become skilled at a certain subject an individual should choose adequate and the most suitable learning strategy. Participating in a foreign country or spending certain amount of hours per day practising language skills as well as strong belief in its own abilities will possibly guarantee the achievement and good results at the end. As every person has unique abilities there is not assured strategy which would guarantee that a person would learn a language perfectly however, many researchers have proposed theories of motivation which was found to be a compulsory support for learning. One of the most classical theories of language learning was introduced by Garner & Lambert (1959) who proposed the Socio-educational Model of Language Learning which introduces two types of motivation. Integrative type is about positive attitude toward the foreign country or culture as well as the desire to accommodate and act as a part of it. Instrumental type is a goal of acquiring language in order to use it for a specific purpose such as job advancement or further education. The studies done by Gardner & Lambert (1959) suggest that students who come to a foreign country to study language learn more when they are interactively motivated rather than instrumentally motivated. The same theory was expanded by different researchers including factors such as: self confidence (Clement, Dorney & Noels, 1994) self efficiency (Tremblay & Gordner, 1995) and self-concept (Lampert, 2005). The aim of all theories was to find out whether self identity changes depending on the cultural background an individual belongs to as well as learners' communication skills, abilities and values. According to Clement et. al (1994) self confidence was described as an individual's self belief in his/her ability to start and achieve certain goals. It is changeable and dependent on how high the self concept is and how much work is put on to achieve the goal. A person with high self-concept will result in better performance and it is easier for him/her to achieve desire goal. If not enough work is put into to activity then self concept is more likely to decrease as individual is losing incentive to carry on task. Another model was proposed by Deci and Ryan (1985) who suggested that people who would like to be successful in life need motivation to help them to become one. In this theory motivation factor was divided into two, different from each other intrinsic and extrinsic motivation which highlights the importance on educational practice. Intrinsic motivation refers to doing the task for its own satisfaction. Students motivated in this way find the tasks much easier and enjoyable and the reward is a feeling of competence in doing the task. Extrinsic motivation has to with the things outside of the individual mostly when individual do a task for its instrumental value or as an approval from self or others (Deci and Ryan, 1985). Extrinsic motivation is visible when students are motivated when the task is done for the sake of something like parents, grates, and teacher. Moreover it does not bring enjoyment neither a sense of being successful. Weiner (1986) believed that language learning success depends of how much effort an individual will put in order to achieve something while other think that their success depends of other people and the environment factors. Oxford (1996) suggested that cultural and cognitive factors have an impact on motivation however there are still factors such as learning styles, personality type, and the personal goals which need to be applied in evaluating this issue. Motivation is a highly complex topic and researchers until now are debating what else need to be considered for motivation to occur

Learning new language as a result of studying abroad

In the last decade learning a new language has turned many young people into abroad programs (Carlson, Burn, Useem, & Yachimowicz, 1990). In only the last twenty years the numbers of students studying in a foreign country has increased from less than 50,000 students in 1985-1986 to least of 240,000 students according to data from 2007 (Opendoors Online/IIE Network, 2008). According to The Economist (2004) the number of foreign students in united Kingdom is 165,000 whereas in United States the number of foreign students raised to 600,000 in 2003 (Goldstein & Kumagai, 2003). Study programs are referred to as a period of time during which student's complete part of their studies abroad outside of the student's home institution. Encouraging students in studying abroad is closely linked with cultural experience, gaining new skills, visiting places, and gaining overview and knowledge. It might help to develop important skills for life which later on will help with a student's employability. Researchers have described these experiences as highly beneficial and large number of surveys carried out identified improvement of foreign language as one of the most beneficial (Carlson, Burn, Useem, & Yachimowicz, 1990; King & Young, 1994; Koestler, 1986 cited in Talburn and Steward, (1999).

Some of the studies also confirmed some behavioural and personality changes which occurs during and after being a student abroad. According to Nash (1976) the changes included differentiation in self and higher autonomy however no differences were found in level of confidence or tolerance. Hensley and Sell (1979) found opposite results where students attending abroad programs displayed higher level of self-esteem and tolerance than the controlled group. Marion (1980) investigated 90 students who had participated a year or semester of studying abroad experience became more open-minded and having wider global perspective. Growth of a person's global perspective and personal development was found by Zorn (1996) as the most meaningful impact of a study abroad program, where in a longitudinal, qualitative study by Cross (1998), after more than 30 years since their assignments, the subjects confirmed having higher level of self-confidence, willingness to take on a challenge as well as handle difficult situations. It has also been suggested that study abroad experience may affect different types of students in different kinds of ways. Differences in participant values may play a part in changes in student attitudes.

Learning language and its impact on behavioural changes

Many theories confirm that people continuously change their behavior and over the years theories tried to explain the developmental changes people undergo (Prochaska, DiClemente, Norcross, 1992; Bandura, 1986; Schunk, 2000). Whether it happens form an individual's wish or as a result of experience one's going through the process of behavior change does not take place immediately rather it occurs as a process of many stages (Prochaska, DiClemente, Norcross, 1992). Researchers distinguish many methods in order to help people change their behaviour successfully. One of the most commonly used was discovered in 1970' by Prochaska and DiClemente called 'Stages of Change Model' (SCM). The model is based on five small stages in which a person goes through to make a successful change and the same time achieve the desired outcome. SCM is divided into precontemplation, contemplation, preparation for action, action and maintenance. Precontemplation stage occurs when an individual is unaware of the problem believing that their behaviour is absolutely normal. When the individual raises awareness of the problem then the beginning of contemplation stage occurs. At his stage individuals consider to change their behaviour however they are not brave enough to make this step. When the individuals decide to make some changes the preparation stage occurs. Shortly after action stage appears where individuals feel more confident to commit and engage in change process. Maintenance is the last stage where the new behaviour is established and fitted into lifestyle and norms of the individual. The change process might not last forever. People for many reasons might give up at any time if they decide not to change and return to previously adopted behaviour. The model focuses only on individuals without taking environmental issues into account might (Prochaska, DiClemente, Norcross, 1992). The theory above could be closely linked with the process of change during learning language abroad. In order to obtain new information an individual need to go through a process in which he/she must make decides to learn something. He or she must attempt to learn it, if this bring enjoyment and an individual will not lose the motivation to do so then they are more likely to maintain the process of learning.

Another theory argues that people can experience change while interacting with the environment and any sort of influence has an impact on the behaviour. In social cognitive theory environmental factors, personal factors and behaviour are constantly influencing each other and play major role in shaping one's behaviour. Theory which includes all the assumptions is Social cognitive theory by Bandura (1986). In social cognitive theory a person does not go through stages like it was proposed by Prochalska and DiClemente (1992) however, the theory sees individual as a learner where he or she learns by interacting with the environment through by cognitive responses, and acting towards the environment they are able to make change in their behaviour if they believe in their capacity to perform desire behaviour and poses encouragement to do so. Being self-efficient and having positive expectations towards the desire change are believed to be the most important factors which help individuals perform the behaviour. Schunk (2000, p.108) explained self- efficiently as an individual's belief about their capability to do something According to Bandura (1986) individuals poses a self-system that enables them to exercise a measure of control over their thoughts, feelings, and actions. This self-system houses one's cognitive and affective structures and includes the abilities to symbolize, learn from others, plan alternative strategies, regulate one's own behaviour, and engage in self-reflection. Both theories could be very closely linked with the concept of studying language abroad. Students who decide to study abroad posses a high level of self-efficiently which enables them to make impact to their life's. As the process of change does not seem to be easy and quick for all participants it took time and input of hard work. There is not much research which has been done on this specific area of study, therefore those researchers who tried to answer on similar question mostly used qualitative methods of research. The current study applied qualitative methods of research which attempts to identify the key factors which are associated with the experience of young students learning language abroad. Qualitative method was used because it is a deep method to investigate personal histories and experiences. As studying abroad is very popular nowadays we tried to find out what stages students are going through to learn a language and what experience of change does it bring.

2. Method

A qualitative study explored experiences of students wishing to study language abroad. The focus of the study was to explore the experiences of students who attempted to initiate and maintain an alternative lifestyle abroad and explore the essential psychological elements underpinning the experience of change. How those four participants experienced process of change was the main issue to investigate

a) Participants

Four foreign students (two males and two females) age between 20-25 took part in the study. Participants were attending a language school programme located in the Oxford area. Two of the participants started the course in May 2010 and are planning to complete it in December 2010 while the other two students started the English course in February 2010 and completed the course in May 2010. All four participants were chosen because they were not English native speakers and came from abroad in order to learn an English language. Face-to-face interviews were conducted at the convenience of participants (an average 40 minutes, range 30-60 minutes). The purposive homogenous sample fits within the parameters considered ideal for IPA research (Flick, 2000). All the participants were having similar experience and were engaged in a similar task which is learning a new language abroad. This form of sampling allowed the researcher to investigate whether the underlying phenomena of description have similar elements for the type of the group from which the participants is drawn.

b) Interviews

The episodic interview method was applied because of its relation to everyday life information which enables the researcher to understand closely participant's experience (Flick, 2000).

Firstly the interview topic was introduced to each participant, who was previously informed that they could withdraw from the interview at anytime without giving reason. Because some of the participants did not acquire the language fluently in order to help them a list of subtopics was provided for each participant, which included Life before going abroad, life after being abroad, why study English language,. These topic areas were intended to be broad so as to enable participants to raise those issues which they felt were important rather just answering questions derived from the researchers. The examples of questions asked were: "Could tell me the story of why did you decided to study abroad and leave your home and how did you experience the process of change", and follow up questions such as: "You mentioned about some changed to your personality. Could you tell me what kind of changes there were and was it successful or not", "How does your life look like now. Are you as confident as you were before and do you still keep learning English or something has changed? Follow up questions allowed the elaboration and explaining of participant's responses. None of the participants agreed to be audio recorded therefore the interviews had to be manually typed on the laptop as participants spoke.

Analytical Framework

The procedure for analysing the transcript was applied according to IPA rules (Smith, Jarman, Osborn, 1999). Conducting the analysis the transcripts were read a few times in order to become more familiar with participant's interpretations and to identify themes from psychological perspective and with the phenomena being researched. Following Smith et al (1999) the idiographic approach was taken in which one transcript was examined in detail before examining the others. Each transcript was then analyzed in a line-by-line sequence. Left side of the merging was used to note everything which in researcher opinion was interesting or significant about the responded answers. Right margin was used to note key words which later were constructed into theme titles. At this stage the researcher had to think of psychological theories and link them with themes from the right margin, remembering that is still had to be grounded with what participant truly said. For example for "social factors" themes included key words like "social comparison", "popularity", "social acceptance", "social influence, group", because they are closely connected to each other and fit the same category. In the next step a list of themes was produced from each transcript and located together in a form of a table. During this process researcher was allowed to decide which themes could be dropped because of not being fitted in larger group or were poor in evidence within the transcript, which in this case few subthemes were removed. Afterwards double checking was necessary in order to see whether no themes were left and all of them emerged from participant's account. A special table by Dunn and Holt (2004) (see appendix tabe.1) was created and fitted all selected by researcher themes and participants.

3. Finding:

After coding all four interviews ten main themes had emerged which were shared by all participants. The themes included: Positive feelings, Negative feelings, Self concept, Social factors, Development, Limitations, Motivation, Feelings towards the change, Personal achievement and Reason for change. It has been noticed that even though individuals experienced their unique process of change moreover, different factors influenced them to make this life changing decisions; the results are more/less similar to each other. Due to space restraints out of ten main themes only three themes were evaluated which were found to be the most psychologically interesting and were matching the research question which is the process of change participants experienced during the time spend abroad. That includes: Motivation, Personal achievements and Development.


In the current research the theme 'Development' was used as a description of a process when an individual progress or develop certain skills through some period of time. The certain time was not matter as study on this topic was focused only on the actions participants completed. All four participants did not go through process of change in one day. Even though everyone attempted it and experienced it in their unique way it was a long step by step process comparable to the theory of Stages of Change Model (SCM) proposed by Prochalska and DiClemente in 1992. The theory is based on five stages, the same stages the participants from the current study went through. During the first phase called Precontemplation stage participant were aware of how important is speaking a foreign language however they were not aware of the limitations they had and what is interesting majority of them did not specially worry about it.

In is evident from the first interview that the person was aware of the current global situation and how important is to have an international qualifications these days. Probably lack of knowledge how to gain this qualification was the reason why the idea of studying never came to this interviewer's mind.

Participant 1 said: Well I always thought that studying abroad and having an international diploma is a big thing [15-16](…)It has never come to my mind to actually go to a different country and study there. [8-11]

Participant 2 had some knowledge about the language and the country however, it does not seem like he was aware what might actually happen on the other side of the world. This decision was probably not considered very well as he wanted to belong to a certain group of people. Being more afraid as time goes by made to change his mind.

Participant 2: I liked the idea of going there and study the language even though I never went for a trip to England. All I knew about this language and the country were facts from the books and what I have learned at school [23-26](...)All my friends wanted to go abroad so do I so I said to my parents that I want to go and study there too [33-34](...) To be honest I was afraid of the big steps and with time I wanted that less and less[26-28]

Similar to the first participant both Participant 3 and Participant 4 knew how important it is to be able to us a second language. Surprisingly they were not really committed to consider this issue more broadly. On the other hand for both of them it was much harder to make any kind of decision to go to foreign country especially when English language was not tried to be use before.

Participant 3: I wanted to learn English since I was in high school [8](…) that was a challenge because I didn't know anything in this language and I didn't specially worry about it [13-15]

Participant 4 said: Speaking in many languages is very important in life [14] (...) I didn't have English at school and from the beginning I didn't think it is necessary to know it [12-13]

At some point in time students started to become more aware of the problem they had and tried to do something with it. According to the theory at this stage (Contemplation stage) students did not appear to be brave enough to decide on the first step and as it is shown form the participants 2,3,4 they did not consider the possibility of changing either.

The statement below shows that even though there are no excitements in life, it is still hard to change a situation, when other factors are involved. For participant 1, life was already planned; such a sudden, rapid change could have brought some difficulties, between those who are part of the plan therefore it is not a surprise this participant was struggling with her thoughts.

Participant 1 said: There was no excitement in my life (…)[14] I started to realize [18](…) what I really want from my life and what could be changed [19](…) I already had my future life planned and it would be hard for me to leave everything just like that [43-45]

Being afraid of making some changes in life is a very common thing because it is not always predictable what might happen. participant 2 and 3 had the same feelings however it is clearly explained that feeling fear comes from personality and exactly "the way we are" .It is understood that for shy, unconfident, secured person would be harder to accommodate to the new environment compared to more open and independent person.

Participant 2 said: I felt bad because I already made announcement that I want to study in England however I couldn't speak English [49] I have tried to learn English at school [49] but I was a shy person, unconfident, never lived my life as I wanted to and I was afraid to make the first step [53]

Participant 3 said: I wanted to learn a language but I was so confused because it didn't seem to be easy. I was a mummy girl I was scared to make any changes in my life [17-20]

For another person, despite of the experience in foreign countries and self motivation- lack of general drive from outside was the factor why she could not follow her dream. She was aware of limitations she had and wanted to do something with it, unfortunately lack of motivation and worries were more powerful.

Participant 4: I wanted to know this language so badly and I realized that when my parents were taking me for holidays (55-57) I knew I am not able to communicate with foreign people and that was worrying me [57-58](…) I didn't have motivation to do it [58]

During Preparation stage participants started to make commitment to change their lifestyle. They are trying to find out how they can change it and the same time make small preparation before the change will actually start to be noticeable.

All interviewers described preparation stage in the way of self learning. They applied this specify strategy which helped them to get to know English language more. That included learning from the movies, music, Cd's, and chatting with people. Only one person (Interviewer 4) had wider possibilities to learn English in a more professional way which is English college. Participant 2 as the only one mentioned environment in his statement. Being able to accommodate to the environment is an important factor because it gives more ideas about what is going on out there, and gives possibility to interact with what is this "environment" made of.

Participant 1: I started to practise the language by listening to the English songs, watching movies with subtitles and chatting with random people from the social network pages [38-39]

Participant 2 Also tried to learn English from movies and music [118-119](…) It was a matter of time for me[104-105] Step by step I was accommodating myself to the environment [109]

Participant 3: I learned by heart try to memorise as much as possible, repeat words, and so some exercises. The basics I learned from the CD's(...) [25-27] (...) I was practicing a lot [32]

Participant 4: I tried to learn English at home by reading English news, listening to the music [61-63], English college [64]

Action stage involved individuals to enjoy and be actively engaged in the change process. From the participant's description it is evident that process of time and level of satisfaction was varied which brought some signs of happiness and enjoyment.

From the participant's 1 point of view hard work brings success. Despite of amount of time and work put in she found a positive side of it and probably this success brought to her life enjoyment and satisfaction. She probably noticed visible outcome of the hard work that is why she have started to enjoy her new life even more.

Participant 1: For the first few days I was very excited [80](…)I must say I really enjoyed it and was working very hard and tried to learn as much as I could [97-98](…) I started to like my new life more and more[102-103]

Positive changes were also noticed by second interviewer as she started to enjoy what she was doing. When a person feels more confident and is more experienced, life becomes easier and the same time fear dissapear.

Participant 2: Step by step I was accommodating myself to the environment. I started to enjoy what I am doing and who I became and everything seemed to be easier for me [109-111] And that's how my personality was changing [112-113]

Participant 3 have noticed changes as soon as the English improved. Increased confidence and positive feelings was seen as something extraordinary which the person was waiting for.

Participant 3: My English improved greatly [93] (…) I became more confident [109] That's a good feeling [167] (…) A kind of food to feed your mind [167-168]

Participant 4: I really enjoyed the classes and the whole process of learning [66] I was pretty serious about improving my language [82] I was still the same shy person when it came to speaking (...)

When participants notices that the change they experiencing is enjoyable and they see a positive side of it the maintenance stage occurs. Individuals are motivated to keep on track and also make future plans with applied new behaviour

Improved confidence and lack of language barrier made the Interviewer 1 think of living in this country. It is common for people who success in something to be braver and not being scared of anything. Having friends and feeling of belonging to a certain group gives some kind of security and motivation to carry on.

Participant 1: I became so confident in my own skin and was not scared of anything [99] Language barrier was not existed to me anymore [167] That time I actually started to plan my future in this country [167-168](…)I know English language, I made many friends, I have been accepted to the group and I am kind of part of this country [230-233]

Similar plans of staying in the foreign country had Participant 2. She seems to be happy and appreciated from being here as it has changed her in a positive way which she is going to continue.

Participant 2: I am going to continue my education here [151-152] The whole abroad experience mane me a great person I am glad I became one like this and I want to stay the same person and change only in a positive way. [23-24]

For Participant 3 the education is not finished yet. He is happy from the obtained skills moreover, he is not afraid to say that he still need to improve his knowledge even more. He managed to increase his confidence and motivation but there is some uncertainty about the future as he only "hopes" to stay the same person for long.

Participant 3: 䌀ᡊ伀J儀J帀J愀ᡊ20ᔠ앨譊ᘀ앨譊䌀⁊伀J儀J帀J愀⁊20ᔣと虲ᘀ앨譊㔀脈䩃䩏20䩑20䩞20䩡ᔣと虲ᘀ굨촪㔀脈䩃䩏20䩑20䩞20䩡ᘠ焅㔀脈䩃 䩏20䩑20࡚庁J愀⁊20ᘝ焅㔀脈䩃 䩏20䩑20䩞20䩡 ᜀ⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪⨪ [139-141] I speak English pretty good [318] (...) I still keep learning English but this time I am charged with motivation and confidence I gained and I hope that will stay with me for long [330-332]

For the participants below the whole process of learning was enjoyable which influenced him to continue his education. Which is a great result because in the maintain stage people should feel good and proud about themselves. They should try to maintain the lifestyle however it also opens the door to progress within this stage.

Participant 4: When my English was improving my confidence was increasing [98] I was thinking of going abroad to continue my education I really enjoyed the classes and the whole process of learning [66] I was pretty serious about improving my language [82-83]

All participants reported that self belief and belief in their own abilities are also motivational factors which helped them succeed the process of change. Participants reported some difficulties however self motivation managed to overcome the bad impulses. The finding below presents just small examples of self-belief, in order to show the importance of it.

Participant 1 showed very high level of determination; strong words have been used which a show how important was for him to succeed.

I could do everything just to learn English perfectly [153-154].

Belief and hard work were linked together, because if people start to give up they will put less work in it. If it is the other way round the outcome is more positive.

I really believed I can do it and I out a lot of effort into learning [141-142]

Participant 2 expressed his self-belief as I didn't want to see a way out I strongly believed in myself and I knew I can do it [107-108] I believed in myself and I never gave up even though I am telling you it was really hard [172-173]

Her strong beliefs in her abilities help her to overcome any problems and limitation. She was so determinate that she did not want to see any other easier or harder way.

Similar was with Participant 3 who strongly believed that I have time to learn the language (…)[20-21] I had my goal which I knew I needed to achieve somehow [23-24]. For participant 4 the process was more emotional as he stated I felt like I am getting wings or something (…) It was hard at the time but I didn't stop believing in myself [88-89]


What motivates an individual during the process of change is very closely linked with the factors influencing this change. Some of the participants posses a very high self belief which in early years was proposed by Bandura (1977). Those individuals belief that everything is possible moreover, they display positive attitude towards the change. Participant 1 and 2 displays an integrative type of motivation proposed by Garner & Lambert (1959) theory which is the positive attitude toward the foreign country and desire to accommodate and act as a part of it

I really believed I could do it" I was so determinate to learn English that I could do everything just to learn it perfectly(…) I felt quite sad because I really wanted to communicate with the people and I had this break down because I could not [Participant 1]

I didn't want to see a way out. I strongly believed in myself and I knew I can do it. Step by step I was accommodating myself to the environment, (…) I believed in myself and I never gave up [Participant 2]

Participant 3 I had my goal which I knew I needed to achieve it somehow (...)[23-24] I strongly believed that I have time to learn it (...) [20-21]

Despite of the high self efficiently most of the participants stated that social influence played a significant part in the decision making process. Despite of the fact that participant were studying language for their own satisfaction they have also done it because of the society (Participant 1, 3), family (Participant 2) which means they were extrinsically motivated (Deci and Ryan, 1985).

I didn't want people to judge each other because of the country of origin. That motivated me to do something about it and obviously I started from myself and tried to show myself from the best perspective (...) [Participant 1]

She described the motivation as a "big snowball thrown on my head" I couldn't really judge myself but I was even more committed to carry on when my family, friends and cousin noticed this positive change and they were happy for me (…) [Participant 2]

Participant 3 stated: I just watched people and I realized that I need to do something (...) [218-220] (...) If not the Spanish girl and the teachers I would not know English that well as I do now [282-283]

The other participants have been motivated since the beginning by a member of family, friend or a teacher. In the participant 4 case her cousin was the first one who gave her idea about studying English. It seems like he was motivated intrinsically as he wanted to learn English for his own satisfaction, to be good at this as well as extrinsically because everyone was talking how important is learning language which also influenced the respondend decision to carry on learning language.

" She spoke about this country like it was the most beautiful place in the world and that speaking language is very important for the future(…)One day my best friend went to England and she told me this is really nice place, different cultures and people and it is really good way to practise English(…)I wanted to learn English more(…)everyone was talking about it(…

Personal achievement

The main question the research is trying to answer on is what experience of change people posses therefore personal achievement is one of the themes worth exploring. It has been already noticed in the last stage of Behavior Change that people achieved what they wanted to moreover, they managed to change their personality in a very positive way.

Participants 3 and 1 achieved all their goals they became more in depended and had feeling of belonging to a group/country which brought them satisfaction and remarkable feelings. It is very easy to notice that when a person becomes more confident it is easier for him/her to socialize with people and feeling of acceptance is one of the most important especially when an individual is in a distant country.

Participant 3.(...) I achieved all my goals, I learned English language, I passed my exams in English I became I think better and more independent person (...)[243-245] I was part of the group(...)[181-182] I never felt better before [162-163]

Participant 1. I have just given me something positive to my personality and my future. I became more confident and I know English language I made many friends and I have been accepted to the group and I am kind of part of this country [229-233]

Similar outcome achieved Participant 2; She also became not completely different but more open and independent person which helped her to enjoy her life more. Both participants 2 and 4 realized that it is possible to achieve success by doing hard work and strong belief.

I became more confident and independent I have learned many simple things and enjoyed my life even more [112-113](...)I am self motivated and confident individual, I realized in this life very important thing which is if you want something this thing is actually happening to you [180-182]

Participant 3 described his successful change as:

I have learned so much about myself. I learned that If you believe in something so much you can achieve it and everything is possible if you try hard and maintain the hard work you do [231-234].I became more confident and more open I made such a big step by coming here that nothing else scares me [333-335]

She clearly stated that without hard work and some kind of motivation nothing would be possible. For her and for most of the participant going abroad was a big step in life, something they have never experienced before. Only a desire to speak a foreign language can not only bring more knowledge but also more positive characteristics to a personality. As participant 3 stated confidence and lack of fear were the factors which she founded to be most succeeded. There was not much research done on the personal achievement, however many previous studies on motivation (Oxford, 1996; Weiner, 1986) and experience on change (Prochalska and DiClemente, 1992) had a kind of positive outcome. None of the participants regretted the step of coming to a foreign country to learn a language, the step by step process of learning, self belief and support from the others were factors which help them to make the successful makeover.

4. Discussion

The current research was carried out in order to investigate the experience of change of those who tried to experience and maintain an alternative life choice. The finding of the current paper gives a fascinating insight into how students experience a change process and how they manage to maintain the change. Four individuals who decided to come and study language abroad were willing to discuss their experience of change, were interviewed. Nine master themes emerged which three of them: Development, Motivation and Personal achievement were found to be the most important and the closest to answer on the research question. The paper argues that an experience of change did not come automatically rather it was a step by step process which was previously defined by Prochalska and DiClemente as a 'Stages of change model'. In the current research participants were aware of the limitations they had. Some of them did not see the importance of changing the situation there were in, even though most of them dreamt of speaking a foreign language. Learning language became an influential factor on which people decided to go abroad. Behind that other personal factors such as "confidence", "freedom", "independence" and "social factors" were additions to what an individual was planning to change in their life. According to findings specifically to the process of change participants started to be aware of the problems they had and even tried to find a solution on that. Before deciding to make a first step towards the change participants were slowly preparing themselves for the future plans trying to learn language, find information out about the country. Some of them were influenced somehow by member of the family, friends or tried to become part of desired group. Therefore Social factors and reason for change themes were excluded from further evaluation as there were covered in a step by step process of a change. As a preparation participants applied many different learning styles it is important to notice that it was their own decision and their own strategy. None of them was told what to do either was not following any rules. All of them knew what they have to improve and what the best strategy is. Participants who acquired to make some actions towards the change turn on to be successful and enjoyable. The study confirms the theory by Garner & Lambert (1959) of Socio-educational Model of Language Learning. Participants were interactively and instrumentally motivated to carry on studying. They displayed positive attitude towards learning and new culture they were in moreover they have done in order to gain a better. Form obvious reason it was hard and time consuming activity. Self motivation was found to be the most common factor which helps them to not give up the process. Even despite of the problems some participants had, there were still able to carry on a new behaviour and maintain it for the future. The aspect which helped them maintains the change was self belief which according Clement et. al (1994) and Bandura (1997) were main motivational and influential factor to succeed certain objective. Many times participants stated how strong their beliefs are "I really believed I could do it" [Participant 1]," I strongly believed in myself" [Participant 2] which helped them to not give up. As it has been specified by Bandura (1977) people who are self-efficient and have positive attitudes towards desire change are more likely to succeed the change process. Individuals from the current research believed in their power to be successful and were constantly motivating themselves which was helpful to keep on going and persist in the change. To summarize the current study confirms that the process of change does not happen immediately rather it is a long and time consuming process in which he/ she needs to be influenced and constantly motivated in order to feel the victory and satisfaction from carried process.

5. Limitations of present study and recommendations for future research

The present study was carried out among very small sample and cannot represent the whole population of student who studying language abroad. Therefore it is possible that not all the students will describe their experiences in a similar way as those in the current study. One of the biggest limitations in the study was the fact that each person came from different country. English language was their second language used therefore it is possible that during the interview participant could not really expressed themselves as they would like to because of the language limitations. The participants who volunteered in the study were student who have stayed in the foreign country more than three months and managed to stay or return to the same country again. Therefore each of them was aware of the problem and was able to develop a positive perspective on in. During these months there were more likely to accommodate themselves to the environment, had time get out from the shelves which would not be quite possible for those who stay in a foreign country less then three month. It is possible that not everyone who goes through similar process of change posses positive attitude and as strong self motivation as it was expressed by current students. Every single individual experiences life in different way and many factors influence these experience. The interview data was also a subject to some limitations for example coding and interpretation would be different if the same interview was analysed by a more or a different researchers. The current study did not take into account the background information such as country of origin, demographic factors or level of education. To have access to these information participants would have to complete some sort of questionnaires which current research did not enclosed.

Future research investigating experience of change from quantitative perspective should aim to address such limitations. Therefore to confirm the nature of the finding would be necessary to interview people whose English language is on an advanced level. Large sample should also be used as it would represent the larger population and country of origin taking into consideration would explain the differences why an individual behaved certain way. As every person is different and the way he/she is raised, and the culture they come from play an important role in life. Mixture of qualitative and quantitative method would be more likely to gain a more accurate picture and explain the variance between people.