Date of Thesis



Several studies have found that homestay programs enrich cultural understandings of both host families and study abroad students; however, studies of detailed cross-cultural experiences during homestay from the perspectives of both host families and study abroad students have been missing. This study addresses a gap in the literature by examining cross-cultural experiences, particularly, forms of cultural transmission, which occurred between American host families and Japanese study abroad students during a homestay program. Adopting Engel's (2011) methodology for studying Spanish host families and American college students, this phenomenological study targeted a short-term homestay program in the U.S. with interviews of seven American host families and seven Japanese college students and four meal-time observations of four different host families. Weaver's cultural iceberg model (2000) was used as a framework for categorizing and analyzing the nature of two-way cultural transmission that occurred between American host families and Japanese students. Results showed that cultural transmission between the two parties occurred regarding general lifestyle, food practices, language, values, religion, and politics. Some elements such as general lifestyle, food practices, and language were at the surface level of culture, while others such as values, religion, and politics were at the deep level. However, the Iceberg Model's dichotomy was challenged to accommodate some elements, which were seemingly at the surface level of culture but implied complex cultural manifestations and perceptions. Finally, implications for practice, in terms of pre-program preparation of students and host families and on-site support for both are discussed.


short-term homestay program, American host family, Japanese college student, cultural transmission

Access Type

Masters Thesis (Bucknell Access Only)

Degree Type

Master of Science in Education


Education - college student personnel

First Advisor

Joseph L. Murray

Second Advisor

Ramona Fruja