This paper describes the usage of Instagram (the social networking platform) in sophomore English classes at a private Japanese university. Instagram was used to help students prepare for their study abroad semester. Students created private Instagram accounts and used this platform for group exercises with a mixed group of students and staff at potential study abroad sites in the United States of America. The participants posted images and video of their daily lives and routines at their schools, and created posts based on tasks set by the instructor. Group members were then encouraged to ask each other questions and communicate through Instagram. The study found that Instagram usage has the potential to help students prepare linguistically and culturally for study abroad semesters. The paper recommends follow-up studies that use Instagram and other social networking sites to help students prepare culturally and linguistically for study abroad semesters. This has implications for language teachers who are teaching prospective study abroad students or are interested in incorporating technology into their classes, as well as coordinators of study abroad programs interested in modernizing their study abroad orientation programs.
Keywords: CALL, Instagram, social media, social networking sites, study abroad