As internationalization efforts intensify, institutions of higher education (HE) across the globe are increasing participation rates in study abroad programs. In this paper I argue that international experience alone is often not enough to propel students to higher levels of second language (L2) proficiency, global-mindedness, and intercultural sensitivity. Challenging the ‘immersion assumption’, contemporary study abroad research findings point to the need for interventions to deepen and extend the language and intercultural learning of student sojourners. To optimize the potential of study abroad, it is imperative that more efforts be made to bridge the research–teaching nexus. To underscore this point, I offer examples of two courses for student sojourners that have been inspired by my own research. While both interventions were developed in an Asian context, the approach and methodology may resonate with educators and students in other regions.
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