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Volume 19 Number 3, Autumn 2022, Pages 740-1140   

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Motivation and Investment: Korean Students' Language Learning during Early Study Abroad

    Young Wha Lee

This paper examines the motivation and investment of Korean students' language learning experiences during their early study abroad in the United States. Early study abroad involved not only language learning process, but also why students engage in language learning. This study explored the participants' ideal L2 self and ought-to L2 self from Dörnyei's L2 Motivational Self System and imagined community, imagined identity, and non-participation related to the concept of investment. Data were collected from individual and group interviews with six Korean young adults who reflected on their early study abroad in their elementary or secondary school years. Motivation and investment represented language learners' desires, and they were situational and contextual. Motivation and investment complemented each other such that students sometimes had motivation, but other times had investment or they had both but with a different focus. Imagined future selves can stimulate students' language learning, and teachers should understand and balance students' actual and imagined identities in their learning context.

Keywords: motivation, investment, early study abroad, Korean students