A Day in the Life: Mapping International Students’ Language Learning Environments in Multilingual Sydney


The challenges of gaining access to opportunities to use the target language in contexts of study abroad, international education and migration are well-documented. In this Sydney-based study, these are reconceptualized as challenges of access to English in an English-speaking, but increasingly multilingual, city. The notion of "context" in overseas study is also reconceptualized in spatial terms as the environmental circumstances of students’ everyday lives, which are partly fixed in advance of their arrival but also shaped by their agency. A narrative case study of a recently arrived international student’s daily activities and language use draws on online diary and stimulated recall interview data. The case study illustrates both the importance of the spatial dimensions of her everyday life to her use of languages and the how she manages these spatial dimensions to enhance her access to opportunities for English language use and learning.

Author Biographies

Phil Benson, Macquarie University, Australia

Phil Benson is Professor of Applied Linguistics at Macquarie University, Sydney. His research interests include language learning beyond the classroom, language learning environments, and language experiences of international students. His preferred research methods are qualitative and he is especially interested in narrative and mapping as approaches to language learning research.

Philip Chappell, Macquarie University, Australia

Philip Chappell is a Senior Lecturer in Applied Linguistics at Macquarie University, Sydney. His research interests are in classroom talk, teacher knowledge, dialogic pedagogy, and international language student wellbeing while studying abroad. Phil supervises research students in TESOL-related areas. He is also Editor of the English Australia Journal.

Lynda Yates, Macquarie University, Australia

Lynda Yates is Professor of Linguistics at Macquarie University, Sydney. Her research interests include adult language learning and teaching inside and outside the classroom, spoken discourse and workplace communication, particularly as they relate to transnational professionals. She has a strong commitment to the translation of research findings into practice.