Published online by Cambridge University Press: 23 September 2021
This chapter provides a critical examination of Arabic study-abroad numbers and outcomes, of recurrent problems, and of research-based interventions. Trentman’s study highlights both qualitative and quantitative assessments of students’ skills before and after the study-abroad experience, especially in oral proficiency. Arabic sociolinguistic variation has long played a destabilizing role in proficiency gain, measurement, and accuracy, and the challenge of developing networks of informal, relaxed relationships with native speakers is raised and addressed. Also addressed are the less-noted ‘ideologies’ of study abroad that focus either on a ‘touristy’ intercultural experience or on an instrumental ‘orientalist perspective’ that discourages student engagement with local communities. Research interventions such as reflective practice and ethnography projects are discussed and evaluated as ways to raise the awareness and progress of study-abroad students.