Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Global and International Studies

First Advisor

Scott Friesner

Second Advisor

Nicholas Andreadis

Third Advisor

Thomas Kostrzewa


In an era of "stranger danger" where society indoctrinates fear of "the other," hospitality exchange and social networking website offers an alternative movement to these trends. connects travelers with locals offering free accommodation in exchange for meaningful connection, cultural exchange, and the opportunity to "create inspiring experiences" within a rapidly growing, transnational community encompassing over 5 million members. This thesis takes a creative journalism approach to uncovering CouchSurfing's inner workings and impacts, understanding its historical context within globalization and the growth of hospitality exchange networks, and discovering its implications for the global community and global consciousness of vagabonds as a whole. Utilizing personal experiences and anecdotal accounts while "CouchSurfing" in Barcelona and France, the conversations and shared activities with over 12 CouchSurfers of both sexes and various backgrounds and ages reveal a common "CouchSurfing culture" that values the social, rather than economic, benefits. Moreover, the research concludes that CouchSurfing directly effects a users' sense of transnational identity, cultivates values of tolerance and cross-cultural understanding, and facilitates spontaneous, social adventures and authentic connections within a community that celebrates the diverse oddities that comprise the human condition.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access