Edited by M. Rafael Salaberry, Kate White and Alfred Rue Burch
[Study Abroad Research in Second Language Acquisition and International Education 4:1] 2019
► pp. 45–69
“As a friend, that’s the one thing I always am very conscious not to do”
Categorization practices in interviews with peers in the host community
The field of study abroad (SA) research has paid scant attention to the perspectives of people with whom SA students interact in the host community (e.g., Kinginger, 2012), particularly to the perspectives of peers. This paper analyzes interviews conducted with eight English-speaking peers of Japanese SA students sojourning in Western Canada. Using membership categorization analysis (MCA) (Housley & Fitzgerald, 2015), it examines how peers used category-based rationales to claim or resist responsibilities related to the SA students’ language development. Findings point to the relevance of two local identity categories: friends and exchange students. Exchange students were constructed as responsible for ‘asking for help’ while peers constructed their own role as ‘helping when asked’. Peers also treated correction as an ‘unfriendly’ practice. In addition to providing insight into peers’ understandings of their roles in students’ learning, the analyses demonstrate how interview questions can shape the participants responses in meaningful ways.