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This study reports on a 2-week home-stay program for first year Japanese university students. Drawing on survey and interview data, the study reveals the complexity of this common addition to study abroad programs. Findings suggest that the level of involvement between the home-stay family and the student, and a positive experience for both depends on many factors, including expectations, language skills, personality, reasons for offering a home-stay and compatibility. For organizers, the challenge lies in finding the closest fit of home stay family and student participants in order to maximize the benefits of the program.