Learning English in Tourism and Hospitality Internships Overseas: Reflections from Six Taiwanese College Students


  •  Yi-Hsuan Lin    
  •  Yu-Ching Tseng    

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the overseas internship experiences and determine whether they helped to enhance the intended English learning outcomes for students who will be working in the service industry. Seventeen entries of reflective journals written by six students who interned overseas were analyzed. The participants reported their frustrations in language learning and described how these experiences could complement their overall career development in the future. The students identified a gap between everyday language needs in the industry and their language training received in Taiwan. The results indicated that the participants thought the English courses in Taiwan have disproportionately emphasized reading or writing skills, whereas speaking and listening were in high demand in the workplace, particularly given the difficulties occurring in cross-cultural communication. The analysis also indicated that the participants’ oversea working experiences positively affected their English learning motivation. These experiences also helped the participants notice differences in interactions with people from various linguistic backgrounds. English learning in Taiwan is traditionally embedded in English as a foreign language (EFL) classrooms that are reading/writing-centered and examination-oriented. The course content should be revised to improve students’ oral communication skills for the workplace.



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