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Abstract

This article explores the post-study abroad life trajectories of learners of Japanese. Drawing upon data collected from eight interviewees, it presents the experiences of study abroad returnees’ ongoing engagement with Japan and Japanese speakers once they were removed from the study abroad environment. In particular, it focuses on the impact of study abroad on ongoing studies and career trajectory, and examines ongoing interaction with Japanese speakers throughout these key life stages. Through the lens of possible selves theory (Markus & Nurius, 1986), this study also examines how the informants’ ongoing engagement with the target language is reflected in their post-study abroad L2 self-concepts. It was found that although the experience of studying abroad in Japan presented a critical incident in each of the informants’ future life trajectories, and each of them remain connected to Japan in various ways, their patterns of engagement with Japanese speakers after returning home differed significantly.

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