2013-2014 Adam Dublin Award for the Study of Global Multiculturalism
Decommercialize and Personalize: Couchsurfing and Alternative Tourism for the Adventurous (and Frugal) College Traveller
Does your dream vacation look beyond pre-established "tourist traps"? Do you wish to engage in cross-cultural exchange and forge meaningful connections while travelling? It's tough to say "no" to these questions. My presentation caters to college students who wish to get the most bang for their buck when travelling the world. Over the past year, I have examined the intersection of online communities, hospitality provided without a cost, and alternative forms of tourism to commercialized mass tourism. First, I provide a discussion of my thesis research which looks at Couchsurfing.org, an online network of seven million alternative tourists who exchange free lodging. I use my research as a springboard to discuss how academic buzzwords such as cosmopolitanism, multiculturalism, and global citizenship are central motivations for alternative tourists. Then I introduce a host of opportunities for alternative tourism and methods to utilize the Internet (to update friends back home) while on the road. I conclude with a set of recommendations for Whitties who wish to have authentic, multicultural, reasonably priced travel experiences in the near future.
Adviser: Jason Pribilsky
Associate Professor of Anthropology and Interdisciplinary Studies