This exploratory study aimed to identify a model that explains the relationship between Informal Digital Learning of English (IDLE) practice and English as an International Language (EIL) perception. The hypothesized model—students' engagement in IDLE practice will be significantly and positively related to their perception of EIL—was tested using a survey with 317 Korean EFL (English as a Foreign Language) university students. The results of Structural Equation Modeling showed a strong, significant and positive relationship between IDLE activities in which EFL learners engage and their EIL perception. Practically, these findings help broaden the scope of conventional EIL intervention beyond the classroom as a complementary EIL pedagogical model. From a theoretical perspective, this study represents a conceptual advance in our understanding of IDLE by adding a new insight to the current literature. This study also makes a contribution toward bridging an interdisciplinary divide between EIL and IDLE. Copyright © 2018 British Educational Research Association.