Okayama Economic Review
Published by the Economic Association of Okayama University


Oka, Masumi
In 2001, Advisor's Room in International Centre, Okayama University, initiated the short-term (one day or overnight) homestay programme. The aim of this paper is to improve the implementation process of the programme by reviewing the homestay between 2001 and 2008, especially focusing on the period 2004 – 2008 based on the survey of hosts and international students participating in the programme. A total of 133 students (a response rate 95%) and 136 hosts (a response rate 97%) responded to the survey. The findings show a fairly high level of student satisfaction with the programme and a good level of communication between hosts and students. The survey results also suggest some problems identified in earlier studies by Hirota & Oka have been resolved. However, 25 percent of the students surveyed still did not write thank you notes to their hosts promptly while many hosts expected them to do. In addition, it was revealed that the passive attitude of some students discouraged their hosts from communicating with them. So the coordinator needs to encourage students to be active and make the most of the opportunity, and students’ personalities can be taken into consideration at the time of matching students to hosts. Lastly, the current matching system also needs to be improved because a limited choice of dates undermined the success of the homestay. Under the current system, there are only four choices of dates which the coordinators arrange based on the university's schedule. Consequently several students have to choose a date even though they have something to do on that day and it also takes a long time to find available hosts. The current matching process is based on student's application including their choice of date and hosts choose which student to take in. So an alternative for more effective matching should be considered: hosts provide their information such as possible dates for stay, number of family members, their pets, and so on, and students choose which family to stay with based on their preference and convenience.