Exploring the Effects of a Short-Term Spanish Immersion Program in a Postsecondary Setting

Elizabeth B. Bernhardt
Vivian Brates
Foreign Language Annals

This article probes the extent to which postsecondary Spanish learners can substantively increase their knowledge of Spanish over a two‐week period within a context of language and content instruction for four hours per day. The article considers the relationship of an immersion experience to upper‐level literature and culture classes. Insights into integrating service learning as a key part of the Spanish learning experience are also provided. Oral and writing data were collected in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 to demonstrate that participants showed significant improvement in their Spanish language abilities within the two weeks of the intensive experience. The enhancement of participants' Spanish language proficiency did not, however, bridge to upper‐level Spanish literature and culture courses, or necessarily to an interest in study abroad. Using service learning as a motivating factor in student participation had a positive affective impact.