The Home Stay: A Gendered Perspective: Viewpoints of the Host Family Experience from International Studies Abroad (ISA) Program Participants


A home stay is primarily considered a period of time in which one resides with a family while abroad. The home stay is most commonly associated with study abroad programs. Prospective students oftentimes ask, “Should I live with a host family?” The answer to this question offers only an explanation based on experiences of past students and/or assumptions about the pros and cons of host family living. Because both male and female study abroad participants choose to live with host families, differences in the overall perceptions of the home stay experience are inevitable. Not only is there very little academic research to-date that gives evidence of why students should (or should not) choose to live with a host family, there is virtually no existing research that serves to compare the home stay experience between male and female study abroad participants.

International Studies Abroad (ISA) is a study abroad provider that strongly supports home stays. The belief held by ISA is that the host family provides the optimum environment for intercultural exposure including, development of language skills and increasing cultural awareness. This study explores the home stay experiences of male and female ISA students.

The purpose of this research is to determine how the home stay is viewed by both male and female study abroad participants. The research seeks to make comparisons between the ‘lived experience’ of male and female students during their home stays. The study also seeks to determine aspects of the home stay that affect the student’s perception of his/her overall host family experience. By exploring the host family experiences of study abroad students, this research will assist study abroad advisors, program providers, and other international education professionals in giving accurate information to potential study abroad students so that each student may determine if s/he should or should not live with a host family.


International and Comparative Education

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