Vietnamese Students’ Perspectives on Informal Interaction Opportunities in English in the UK: Expectation and Contextual Realities
Tam Thi Thanh BUI

Manuscript received on 27 April 2019 | Revised Manuscript received on 09 May 2019 | Manuscript Published on 17 May 2019 | PP: 322-339 | Volume-8 Issue-1S May 2019 | Retrieval Number: A10490581S19/2019©BEIESP
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Abstract: Several studies in recent years have indicated the benefits of study abroad and its challenges for international students which have a close link with interaction opportunities in English. One of the problems was the disappointment at the lack of opportunities to communicate with local and international friends. The aim of this investigation was to analyse existing gaps between Vietnamese overseas students (VOS)’ expectation and their post-arrival real experience about interaction opportunities in English, to find factors influencing their informal interaction, and what could be done to help them gain more interaction opportunities. This research employed both a quantitative questionnaire-based approach and a qualitative interview-based approach. Participants were 38 VOS studying in the UK. Findings reveal that there is a significant discrepancy between VOS’ expectations and their real experience in terms of interactions in English. Both cultural differences and language barriers prevent students from taking up interaction opportunities successfully, which leads to their low sense of belonging to local communities. Participants also had limited contact with British people while they built close friendships with other internationals. The length of study in the UK has significant impacts on students’ satisfaction levels.
Keywords: Interaction Opportunities, Social Interactions, International Students, Study Abroad, Vietnamese Student, Study-Abroad Expectations.
Scope of the Article: Social Sciences