Study abroad as a context for spiritual development: Case studies of undergraduates in France

Matthew Motyka, Timothy Wolcott

Language learning, Identity, Study abroad


In this article, we consider the cases of two American undergraduates, Lola and Audrey, who studied abroad for a semester in France. Drawing on interview data collected during their sojourn, we consider their accounts of living and learning in France through the lens of Jesuit spirituality. In doing so, we demonstrate that although these students’ accounts offer little evidence of linguistic or intercultural development, their deeply personal reactions to a term abroad in France suggest a kind of beneficial identity crisis best understood in the spiritual terms of desolation, consolation, discernment, and election. Following the case studies, we apply our findings to the outline of a short-term study abroad program in France designed to maximize linguistic and spiritual development.

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Apples - Journal of Applied Language Studies