The role of foreign language internships in cultural enrichment and increasing motivation for Russian students to learn Spanish

Currently, many universities use the communicative approach to foreign language teaching. In contrast, Peoples'Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University) uses a mixed approach for these purposes, which combines both the abovementioned communicative method and the grammar-translation method, which is more traditional for Russian universities. Additionally, RUDN University provides an opportunity for students to continue learning the target language at foreign partner universities, where students can practice the language in its natural environment. In this regard, the serious research interest for us is which of our students' language competencies will transform after graduation from these universities and how their motivation changes towards learning Spanish. The vast majority of previous research on the role of foreign language internships in increasing students'motivation to learn the target language focuses on issues related to motivation to learn the language within the framework of the communicative or grammar-translation method (Helmchen, Melo-Pfeifer, 2018; Germer, 2018;Marijuan and Sanz, 2018). This study approaches the question from a different angle and concentrates on the problem of motivating students who previously studied Spanish at a university that employs the mixed method for learning the foreign language and who later completed an internship at a partner university that in turn utilizes the communicative method. To answer this research question, we aimed to conduct a study of the formed cultural and linguistic competencies of 3rd- and 4th-year students who were and who were not on foreign internships at Spanish partner universities of RUDN University. Based on the obtained data, this research demonstrates the need to change the established approaches not only to the practice of teaching Spanish but also to the conscious use of internships as a tool to increase the motivation of students to learn the target language.

Elsevier Ltd
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Motivation; Foreign language; Communicative approach; Grammar-translation method; Spanish language; Foreign internship; Language development; Internship programmes; Language competencies; Linguistics; Russian students
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