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The effect of immersion learning experiences in Japan: A biographical study of four American women

Yuko Yamada, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This case study focuses on four white American women who participated in an immersion experience in Japan. Their immersion experience occurred through a variety of programs and situations, studies and jobs in Japan. This study examines the variations and processes in the life history of each woman and investigates why these four white Americans from the Midwest became interested in going to Japan, what they experienced in the Japanese culture and how they personally benefited. ^ All four women appeared to be highly motivated intrinsically and extrinsically to study abroad. They were people who were curious or even desperate to team something different from their familiar world. They were all influenced by exchange students from other countries and individuals who had been to other countries, and that experience influenced their decision to travel abroad. ^ All four women claimed to have improved their language skills to varying degrees through the immersion experience. As a result of teaming language through the immersion process, the language acquired focused on the language needed to meet their daily needs and their individual goals and objectives. The immersion experience provided the basis for using the language and constructing meaning through interaction in the culture. ^ Even though all four women had no formal background in the application of ethnographic methods, they conducted participant observations. By observing and participating in the culture and language, they were able to learn concrete concepts and skills needed to function in their communities, Each of the four women perceived and believed that the experience of being in Japan and learning the language had a real impact on their academic and career goals. ^ Due to the nature of this investigation on these specific participants and this specific country, these findings may not apply to other cases. However, this study brings to light further investigations which will be needed to understand the phenomena of immersion experiences in Japan and how such an experience influences a person's entire life. ^

Subject Area

Education, Language and Literature|Education, Bilingual and Multicultural|Language, Linguistics|Biography|Literature, Asian

Recommended Citation

Yamada, Yuko, "The effect of immersion learning experiences in Japan: A biographical study of four American women" (2001). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3034399.