Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



World Languages and Literatures

First Advisor

Olivia Gabor-Pierce

Second Advisor

Gunther Hega


A group of Western Michigan University students who studied abroad in Germany within the past two years were surveyed to better understand what influences opinions and stereotypes of another culture. In this thesis the country and culture that was specifically observed was Germany. This thesis focuses on three factors that influence an individual’s opinions of another culture: (1) the influences from the individual’s family, friends and culture/society of his/her home country, (2) the influences from the host country’s culture/society of his/her study abroad, and (3) the influences of his/her experiences while studying abroad. In the survey, the students were asked to answer questions that were specifically formulated to observe how their stereotypes and opinions started out before their study abroad and how their stereotypes and opinions developed during and after the students’ study abroad experience. This thesis is not only capable of helping students who specifically study abroad in Germany, but helps anyone who travels abroad better understand that there is more to a country and culture than the stereotypes and opinions that are held by individuals before visiting the country, and encourages individuals to travel with an open mind.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access