“Seeing a country with your own eyes”: The impact of immersion experiences in language travel
Keywords:language travel, language tourism, immersion, contact with locals
This study approaches immersion experiences in the context of language tourism. Immersion is here understood as tourists’ extensive engagement and interaction with the members of the host culture. Previous studies have pointed out that language tourism implies a deeper contact with locals; however, other studies have observed that many language programmes abroad are not always as immersive as expected. These contradictory findings suggest that there may be a tremendous variation in contact with locals in the context of language tourism. Hence, the present mixed methods study uses interviews with 22 language travellers, and 1,011 survey answers to address the question of how language tourists who had an intense contact with local residents differ – in terms of profile and travel experiences – from those language travellers who did not have such an intense contact. There are significant differences between these groups. Those who had a more intense contact with locals are more likely to be intrinsically motivated by an interest for the local culture, to travel alone, to report higher levels of fluency, more frequent accommodation at homestays, and greater engagement in a wider range of activities at the destination.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Inês Carvalho, Ana Ramires, João Gama
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