This paper offers four case studies of women’s experiences of friendship and intercultural adaptation in Monteverde, Costa Rica. It explores what factors help or hinder local friendship formation for female sojourners, as well as what role friendship plays in women’s intercultural adaptation.

Through observation, questionnaires, and interviews, these four case studies revealed that openness to new experiences, time, and self-knowledge encouraged friendship formation. Factors that hindered friendship formation were gossip, transience of community members, and cultural differences. For these women, friendship, or its lack, influenced their level of comfort in the community.

In addition to addressing the research questions posed, this research raised questions regarding the nature of genuine friendship, the role of personal expectations in friendship formation and intercultural experiences, and the tensions that surround native and expatriate communities as they strive to co-exist.

This research could be useful to future sojourners as a way to examine their own expectations and hopes about intercultural experience. For professionals, this research could encourage dialogue regarding the following aspects of intercultural experience: place, relationships, expectations, and hindrances to adaptation.


Community Psychology | Social Psychology