Embargo Period


Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

Alla Korzh


Short-term mission trips are a popular form of international travel among Christian youth. Though many who attend these trips see them as a way to gain international experience and help others, there are also those who question the value of such trips and describe them as merely “voluntourism.” This research study investigated the experiences of 11 people who did a mission trip as a young adult, guided by the following research questions: What motivates young people to do short-term mission trips? What lasting impact do these trips have on their participants’ worldviews? The findings reveal that while most trip-goers were motivated by an altruistic desire to good to others, they also chose to go for self-betterment, in response to peer and/or family pressure, or to explore an academic interest. Participants’ reflections on doing one or more mission trips expose areas of personal growth as well as criticisms and concerns relating to cultural sensitivity and imperialism. While the trips had a lasting impact on participants’ worldviews, some expressed significant concerns about the community’s benefit. This study is particularly relevant to churches and religious nonprofit organizations organizing and/or overseeing volunteer work abroad.