Foreign Language Anxiety and Study Abroad: Chinese Students’ Voices of Experiencing Foreign Language Anxiety During Their Study in Australia


Foreign language anxiety (FLA) has been investigated as a significant factor in language performance and achievement. Increasing studies have focused on relevant factors of FLA relating to learning environments, and the study abroad context is one of them. In Australia, Chinese students consist of the biggest group of international students. Given that language learning is an integral part of Chinese students’ experiences in Australia, it is also significant to explore their FLA during their studies in Australia and shed light on the broader research scope of investigating FLA within the study abroad context. This study explores Chinese students’ experiences of FLA during their study in Australia and investigates the influential factors by addressing learners’ own voices. This case study draws meaning from the qualitative data collected by interviewing four Chinese tertiary students studying in Australia and adopts thematic analysis. Findings suggest that Chinese EFL students experience FLA mainly for academic English demands, learning situations and contexts with greater interactivity, and internal sources including insufficient language competence, fear of negative evaluation, communication apprehension, personal characteristics, and lack of confidence. Lastly, several suggestions for mitigating the negative effects of FLA emerged from the data.

Author Information
Hangyu Zhang, The University of Melbourne, Australia
Hazel Tan, Monash University, Australia

Paper Information
Conference: ECLL2023
Stream: Applied linguistics research

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon