International students have become an integral part of universities worldwide. Despite a number of studies on the use of English as a lingua franca (ELF) in an academic context, there are still comparatively fewer investigations into students’ social use of ELF outside of the classroom. This study investigated language use and self-perceived identities of international students using ELF in social interaction. Qualitative data was gathered via semi-structured interviews with eight students attending English-medium programs at a private university in Taiwan. Consistent with previous findings, analysis shows that the students perceived themselves as English language users as well as learners. But within relationships of friendship, they used ELF in very individualized and pragmatic ways. They also took guidance from each other and those perceived as more proficient models of English. The study adds valuable insight into self-reports of student social ELF use. As such, pedagogical implications and suggestions are discussed.
Indonesian Journal of English Language Teaching 16(1), p.37-51