Publication Date

Summer 2011

Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

Samdani Fakir

Abstract

When asked what the best part of their service was, the large majority of Peace Corps Volunteers will light up as they describe a cross-cultural experience or relationship. Peace Corps Volunteers want to share these sentiments with Americans. I conducted a qualitative case study by interviewing three fellow Peace Corps Volunteers and evaluating 35 survey responses, in order to explore Peace Corps Volunteers’ perceptions of Peace Corps’ Third Goal- to share a host country culture with Americans. The interviews were transcribed and then compared and contrasted. From the interviews and survey findings, it has been found that the Peace Corps Mali training program and interactions with Peace Corps Staff gives the impression that Goal 3 is not as important to meet as Goal 1- skills exchange and project development; Volunteers are not trained on techniques to share their experiences responsibly; Volunteers do not consider cultural exchanges as satisfying “work” due to its perceived, abstract nature in measuring the outcomes; and that the frustrations related to Goal 3 are also contributing to Volunteers carrying out unsustainable projects. It is concluded that the implementation of the recommendations of this study would put an action to Peace Corps Director Aaron William’s words of Goal 3 as one of his top priorities, showing Volunteers in the best way that Peace Corps believes all their goals carry equal weight of importance. Additionally, the lack in promotion of the importance of Goal 3 does not start in Peace Corps training, it comes from the culture of “Development” and American values, leaving Volunteers at a loss for how to meet Goal 3 successfully.

Disciplines

Civic and Community Engagement | Critical and Cultural Studies | International and Intercultural Communication | Peace and Conflict Studies | Policy Design, Analysis, and Evaluation