School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Jennifer Rathmell


Christian Calling, Foreign Language, Missionaries, Second Language Acquisition, Service Learning, Study Abroad


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Methods | Other Education | Religion


he purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to describe the experiences of Christian missionaries living immersed cross-culturally who need to learn a foreign language in order to fulfill a Christian vocational calling. The theories guiding this study were Vygotsky’s (1978) sociocultural theory and Bandura’s (1986) social cognitive theory as pertains to the social aspects and interactions of immersion in second language acquisition. This study was important in offering support and guidance in the ongoing understanding of second language acquisition, in particular to individuals who have answered the Christian call to missions (Dixon et al., 2012; Price, 2013). This study utilized a qualitative transcendental phenomenological design and purposeful convenience sampling of participants who are living immersed globally. The central question guiding this research was: What are the experiences of Christians living in an immersed setting in a foreign country who need to learn a foreign language in order to fulfill a Christian calling? Data collection occurred via open-ended questionnaires, online discussion forums, and personal semi-structured interviews. Analysis of data followed the transcendental phenomenological analysis format by Moustakas (1994). The information collected described the experiences Christian missionaries encountered living immersed who need to learn a foreign language to fulfill a call to serve.