In this age of rising animosity to newcomers in host societies, study abroad students are often reported to receive maltreatment and discrimination. To this end, I conducted a critical autoethnographic study that responds to the trajectory of my English language learning in the UK and explores my adjustment difficulties and factors such as racialized linguistic discrimination. It also reveals the types of agency that I employed in the process of academic discourse socialization and unpacks causes and processes of renegotiating and reconstructing my identity as a learner and user of the English language. The data for this study was gathered from Facebook posts, written assignment feedback, and my personal narratives and memory. The study reveals that upon finding myself in a community different from what I had imagined prior to my sojourn and with contested power dynamics between local peers and international students in classroom discourse socialization, I became disappointed and stressed and that, in turn, obstructed my learning process. However, my personal investment and agency later led me to develop my own community of practice with those who shared similar linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Meanwhile, I received what seemed to me to be racial discrimination based on my identity as a non-native speaker of English, which was the result of a scaler politics of English and perhaps blatant racism toward a student of a third-world country that saw my use of English as inferior. Therefore, the study invites institutions in host countries to reflect on their language orientation and how it is responsive (not responsive) to newcomers.


Study Abroad (SA), Critical Autoethnography, Community of Practice, Academic Discourse Socialization

Author Bio(s)

Pramod K. Sah is a PhD candidate and Killam scholar in the department of Language and Literacy Education at The University of British Columbia, Canada. His major research areas include language planning and policy, language ideology, critical pedagogy, world Englishes, and social justice in TESOL. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: pramodtesol@gmail.com.


This paper was initially written as part of a course assignment in my doctoral program at The University of British Columbia and I sincerely appreciate the fundamental comments from the course instructor, Dr. Patricia Duff. I would like to thank the editor of the journal, Dan Wulff, for his consistent critical comments and feedback over all revisions that have helped develop this paper in its current shape. I would like to also recognize the funding by The University of British Columbia through my four-year doctoral fellowship.

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