Cultural Identity and Reentry in Short-Term Student Missionaries

Volume 34
Summer 2006
Cultural Identity and Reentry in Short-Term Student Missionaries

This study explores the relationship between cross cultural reentry and cultural identity in college student participants in short-term international mission trips. Twenty undergraduate students from a Christian college participated in focus groups discussing the question, "€œHow did your experiences on your trip(s) influence your view of your home culture?"€ The discussion transcripts were coded, and analyzed according to (a) frequency, the number of times a theme was addressed; (b) extensiveness, the number of people who discussed a theme; and (c) intensity, the emotional strength of a response (Krueger, 1998). Negative reactions to home culture were the most frequent, extensive, and intense themes, followed by themes related to cultural awareness and personal growth. Other themes addressed adjustment and positive reactions to home culture. The findings imply that participants in short-term mission trips experience challenges to cultural identity, characterized by negative reactions. Recommendations for sending missions agencies are provided.

S.M. Walling, Dr. C.B. Ericksson, Dr. K.J. Meese, A. Ciovica, D. Gorton and Dr. D.W. Foy
153 - 164
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