Saudi students' experiences learning English in English as foreign and second language settings

Nagah Awad Alzaharani


This study aims to shed light on the reasons that influence Saudi students’ learning experiences, self-esteem, and attitudes in English language education in the EFL context as linked to their language proficiency. However, Saudi students’ experiences differed in the ESL context, as the study’s findings revealed. This study was conducted to understand the students’ perspectives about their different language learning experiences in ESL and EFL settings. The participants in this study were ten students who had learned English in both EFL and ESL classrooms, which gave the study a clear understanding of the English language learning circumstances in both environments. A qualitative approach was used in this study to enable the researcher to discover the participants’ English language learning experiences and to assist the researcher to learn extensively about those experiences. Moreover, the data analysis revealed that the students’ experiences were influenced by certain factors in the EFL context. The data findings showed that the Saudi students’ experiences in EFL differed from those in ESL in terms of their self-esteem, attitude. The students reported that each learning context contributed to their learning in a different manner. EFL contributed to their basic English to some extent, regardless of its accompanying negative factors; however, ESL contributed more effectively to their language acquisition, with positive factors that they found more relevant to their success in the language.


Saudi students; EFL and ESL; attitude; motivation; performance; experiences.

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