Publication Date

2000

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which housing plays a role in the ability of American study abroad students to make friends with host nationals in their country of study. Research was also conducted to determine in which housing setting American students make more host national friends: in a home stay or student residence designated for international and host national students. A questionnaire was distributed to approximately two hundred and fifty students in three institutions via e-mail and in person, with a return number of twenty respondents. Anecdotal information proved inconclusive in creating a correlation between housing locale and friendship formation between American and host national students. However, rates of friends per student between American students living in home stays versus student residences suggested that there was a greater probability that American study abroad students residing in student residences would make friends than their counterparts in home stays. Other factors that arose in the course of this research were the motivation and expectation of the sojourner, proximity to local population, willingness of host nationals to make themselves accessible to foreign students, integration of student populations within the housing setting, length of stay, language facility, heritage building and cultural conceptualization of friendship by different student groups. Future research may be conducted with these variables in mind to test their influence on the ability for American students to make friends abroad. The value of this study is that friendship formation may be a function of the type of housing in which a student resides. Knowing that housing does influence a study abroad student's accessibility to the local student population, study abroad educators can take steps to ensure that students have the benefit of making non-American friends abroad. Professionals in the study abroad field who could benefit from this study would be study abroad advisors, study abroad providers and administrators, and any other study abroad program professional interested in the health and well-being of students participating in a specific study abroad program.

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