Catalan engineering students in Denmark: The impact of an ELF environment on fluency and self-confidence levels
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This article focuses on the impact of the language policy of a highly internationalized Danish university on two different kinds of exchange engineering students from a mid-size Catalan university: those who attend the Danish university for one semester and those who stay for a whole year with the expectation of staying for even longer. The university is highly internationalized, in the sense that (a) half the student population is from 40 different countries and (b) almost all the courses are taught in English. The findings come from the discursive analysis of three group discussions, two with Catalan Erasmus students before and after their stay in Denmark and one with teaching and administrative staff from the Danish university. For the short-stay Erasmus students, the combination of an ELF environment (i.e. one in which English is the only feasible lingua franca) with a teaching style that favors student participa- tion in class contributes to an increase in student self-confidence and, ultimately, fluency. However, for those students who are considering the possibility of extending their stay and even finding a job in Denmark, the scarce presence of Danish within the university environment distorts their perception of the professional environment in Denmark, for which competence in Danish is essential.