This article explores the experiences of 10 study abroad sojourners in South Korea and the relationship between the positivity of their experiences and their language learning. As a mixed-methods study, it focuses first on the qualitative inquiry regarding how sojourners situate their emotional experiences in relation to their proficiency development. Next, it addresses the quantitative inquiry regarding whether there is a correlation between the positivity of an interaction and the type of interaction for learners at different proficiency levels. By centering on the interaction of emotion and language learning from a Critical, Poststructural lens, this mixed-methods study sheds light on how both positive and negative emotional experiences can be mobilized to promote language learning. While no statistical correlation between the positivity of an interaction and the type of interaction was found, an integration of the qualitative and quantitative results suggest that Critical approaches to study abroad preparation could empower sojourners to navigate otherwise destabilizing encounters while abroad. Furthermore, giving attention to sojourner identity (re)construction and reflective practices are shown to be effective strategies for mobilizing emotions toward proficiency development.