Internationalisation and Englishization in Higher Education have increased in the past decade. Many stakeholders wonder whether studying in a foreign language has consequences for study outcomes. This dissertation looks at the relationship between the study outcomes of German students at a Dutch university and their second language skills in Dutch and in English. The central research question was: What are the challenges, benefits, and drawbacks for students studying in other than their native language? Is there an effect of second language competence on study outcomes? The central research question is tested in four studies.
The Dutch studies were based on longitudinal data. The effect of language proficiency has been studied through quantitative studies and interviews. For the English studies, examination answers were analyzed for the possible effect of language proficiency on grades.
This dissertation demonstrates that at the level of a relatively short text such as an answer to an examination question, the degree of foreign language proficiency has a minor effect on grades. However, when one ‘zooms out’ to the bigger picture of overall outcomes over a complete year the effect of proficiency in the second or foreign language emerges.