Publication Date

1997

First Advisor

Geremie Sawadogo

Abstract

This Capstone Paper, entitled "An Improved Approach to Peace Corps Homestay Training Programs: Conceptualizing the Framework," is an attempt to bridge the so-called academic "ivory tower" and "real life" educational opportunities. The main question the paper is trying to answer focuses on the framework that should be used to operate an effective homestay program, based on the improved Peace Corps homestay approach suggested in this paper.

The experiential "in-country culture-specific area training" homestay approach this paper presents reflects a synthesis of various approaches to cross-cultural training, including the "intellectual" approach, the "area simulation" approach, the "self-awareness" approach, the "cultural awareness" approach, the "behavioral" approach, and the "interaction" approach. This improved homestay approach is based on a variety of cross-cultural competencies covering three essential aspects of intercultural interaction: personal adaptation, cultural adaptation, and developmental areas study. Each of these areas is divided into categories that could enhance Peace Corps trainees (PCTs) cultural adjustment. This homestay training methodology emphasizes cultural fluency and independence.

My conclusions are that the ultimate purpose of homestays, as a cross-cultural training tool, is to assist trainees to participate fully, effectively and even joyfully in the host culture. Even though these conclusions are consistent with the goals of Peace Corps "Core Curriculum," they represent a departure from past efforts. With homestays, training is no longer a "weeding out" process, but a participatory effort in which the contribution of host families plays an eminent role. Foremost, homestays are a relationship-building process in which PCTs, rather than looking at the culture as an "outsider," are immersed in the culture, mastering the everyday life skills to effectively live and work in their new environment. In short, homestays are a participatory approach to cross-cultural training which allows PCTs to start developing cultural fluency and independence.

Disciplines

International and Intercultural Communication

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