Ida Castiglioni

Education for Global Citizenship in Homestay Families. A Pilot Study in Lombardy, Italy

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Global Citizenship; Exchange Education; Hosting Families; Ethnocentrism; Ethnorelativism.

Global citizenship' has become the slogan of many exchange and study abroad programs, but its definition remains vague and programs struggle to assess its achievement. Global citizenship has been strongly coupled to intercultural learning abroad, a field with many uncovered areas of research that could reveal missed learning opportunities. One ex- ample is offered by the case of hosting families welcoming students into their homes. This research reports on the extent of intercultural learning of two groups of 26 Italian hosting families related to two different organizations. Results of content analysis of the families' narratives (parents and children) of both groups show mostly 'ethnocentric experience' in terms of the Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity. Even though all these hosting experiences were successful by traditional standards, the main finding in this Italian context is that hosting somebody from one month to one year was not usually associated with any evident transferrable intercultural learning. Considering these findings, one of the two organizations created a new program to actively facilitate intercultural learning in host families. That program is summarized along with other recommendations for improving the potential of hosting for citizenship education.

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