Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


College of Education


Department of Education

Primary Advisor

Dr. Sarah Yates

Second Advisor

Dr. Janet L. Deck

Third Advisor

Dr. Mechel M. Albano


Many people in school settings have been successful in learning foreign languages, including English. While schools have helped provide this opportunity, the increasing rate of student disinterest in foreign languages is evidence that schools have not yet fully achieved their goals in foreign language education. The purpose of this study was to understand the experiences of former students who have successfully learned English as a foreign language outside of school. Specifically, this study aimed to describe and interpret the sociocultural dimension of EFL (English as a foreign language) learning. To determine the importance of the sociocultural dimension of foreign language learning, this study utilized a qualitative phenomenological study approach. Using a criterion sampling strategy, three male and two female participants who learned English in different non-English speaking countries were selected to share their experiences. Data were collected through ten semi-structured open-ended questions posed to the participants. The responses were analyzed using Creswell and Poth's five-step spiral data analysis process. The findings indicated that in an environment where English is not the primary means of communication, practicing with friends, interacting with English-speaking family members, joining English clubs, and spending time with native speakers are excellent ways to learn English as a foreign language outside of school. These findings suggest that while sociocultural considerations help improve language skills, learning experiences both in and out of school are necessary to excel in foreign language learning.