{interesting article} Written by Jeremy Slagoski & Published in Korea TESOL Journal

The Culture Learning of Sojourning English Language Teachers

Korea TESOL Journal

Jeremy Slagoski University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA


This qualitative study was designed to explore the culture learning of sojourning English language teachers (ELTs) in Japan and South Korea. Qualitative research methods were used to design the study and to collect the data. Using Holliday’s Host Culture Complex model (1994) as a theoretical framework, shared patterns in participants’ culture learning emerged from their blogs and interviews. The patterns provide evidence supporting culture learning through relationships with various people in different parts of the host culture complex. The strongest pattern revealed that social support from their co-teachers was one of the more beneficial contributions to the sojourners’ culture learning. However, these relationships were only found in government-sponsored English language programs, such as the JET Program in Japan and EPIK in South Korea. Another pattern revealed that the increasing social interactions with their significant others (such as a spouse) marked a shift from the culture learning about the national culture towards culture learning in other parts of the host culture complex.

Keywords: culture learning, sojourning English language teachers, Korea, Japan