Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

William Hoffa


Each year there is an increase in American youth participating in international short-term mission trips with their church youth groups. However, many groups are unprepared to deal with the challenges of intercultural communication while abroad. At the heart of the matter, many American Christians assume that Christianity transcends culture and therefore feel that they do not need much cultural training. This perception is flawed; there is a large need for more in-depth preparation courses about effective intercultural communication on short-term mission trips.

Beyond the Borders of the American Gospel is an intercultural communication course that begins to address this need in Rochester, NY. Using intercultural communication theories, experiential learning, and a fundamental connection to Biblical Scripture, students explore how to be culturally intelligent missionaries on an international short-term mission trip. The curriculum draws heavily on Livermore’s adaptation of Cultural Intelligence theory to short-term mission trips. It challenges the assumptions of the “American Gospel” in a way that students can apply on a practical level. Through a combination of classes, independent assignments, and guest participation, the underlying problems related to cultural sensitivity and intelligence on short-term mission trips are examined and addressed.


Critical and Cultural Studies | International and Intercultural Communication | Religion