Hosting in Costa Rica: A Mix of Money and Motherhood
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This thesis explores perspectives of 30 women hosting international students in a rural, coastal town in Costa Rica through an International Studies lens - interdisciplinary, critical, and bridging theory and practice. Analysis of 30 semi-structured interview sessions, which included 2 questionnaires, conducted over 10 weeks living with 3 host mothers contributes to understanding the impact of study abroad on host families. Hosting is discussed as a preferred form of paid care work in that it is flexible and enjoyable. Women host for the income as well as for the joy of mothering students. Host perspectives are shared regarding benefits and challenges of and lessons learned from hosting. Recommendations are made for homestay program administrators and international educators, including recommendations for addressing power dynamics to ensure reciprocal exchanges.