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Drawing on Activity Theory, this study is an attempt to explore and explicate learners’ emotions in a Chinese English-medium instruction (EMI) context. This paper detailed two cases of university learners to address two issues: how the relationship between EMI learners and their perceived sociocultural contexts shapes their foreign language enjoyment and anxiety and how the factors affecting the two emotions can be explained from an Activity Theory (AT) perspective. Qualitative content analysis was performed on data collected from in-depth, face-to-face interviews and journals. The findings illustrated that a diversity of sociocultural factors, ranging from the object of learning to the rules of learning, could influence learners’ emotions. Contradictions between these factors also influenced EMI learners’ two emotions. This study could inform educational language policy and the development of EMI curricula and pedagogy.


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