Pursuing university education in a foreign language: How difficult could it be?

22nd October 2019 : 13:00 - 14:00

Category: Seminar

Research Group: Applied Linguistics

Speaker: Danijela Trenkic, University of York

Location: Department of Education, Seminar Room G/H

Convener: Hamish Chalmers

Applied Linguistics Lunchtime Seminar Series


Although some international students rank among the top performers at UK universities, they perform notably less well on average than home students. My research investigates the role that language plays in their academic success.
In this talk, I will discuss recent research that bears on the following questions:
– How much do the language and literacy skills of international students differ from those of homes students?
– How much do language and literacy skills affect academic success at university?
– Where is the threshold after which language stops being a barrier to academic performance?
– Do international students arrive with lower proficiency in English than their language qualifications indicate?
I consider the challenges of pursuing an academic degree in a foreign language, and how psycholinguistic research can inform university policies and strategies to ensure that educational experience and outcomes of international students are not compromised.


Danijela Trenkic is an associate professor in second language education at the University of York. Her work centres on understanding how people comprehend, speak and learn new languages. She conducts experimental and correlational research, combining motivations and methods from the fields of linguistics, psychology and education. Ultimately, she is interested in how we can promote language learning through school and beyond. Denijela is the outgoing president of the European Second Language Association.


In 2019, the University of Oxford’s Department of Education celebrates the 100th year since the passing of a statute creating what was known in 1919 as the University Department for the Training of Teachers. To celebrate our centenary a year-long series of activities will be delivered to address some of the department’s top initiatives for 2019, answer some of the big questions facing education today and to reveal the advancements the department has made to the study of and research in the field of education. Join us as we mark our 100th year and discover more about our anniversary here.

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