Communications of the IIMA


This pilot project was designed to evaluate study abroad participants' degree of homesickness and use of communication channels, specifically telephone and email. A questionnaire was developed to assess several dimensions involved with studying abroad, including degree of culture shock and homesickness, and frequency and methods of communicating home. Respondents were 14 study abroad participants from a medium-sized southern university, including 4 males and 10 females. Based on the findings of this study, homesickness and degree of culture shock were related as measured by the items of strain, helpless, missing, accepted, escape, and shock. As hypothesized, students who reported being homesick were also more likely to utilize communication technologies. In addition, those students reporting higher levels of homesickness also reported that phone contacts back home helped them overcome feelings of homesickness. While frequency of use of email and phone were strongly related, only talking with family and friends back home was reported to significantly help with feelings of homesickness. Limitations and future research directions were also discussed.