The Impact of International Service on the Personal Development of Participants of the Operation Crossroads Africa Seven-Week Program


This study sought to determine if participants of the Operation Crossroads Africa summer program experienced changes in personal development as a result of their seven weeks volunteering in Africa. The subjects for the study were Crossroads participants from the 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001 programs.

These subjects were contacted via email and directed to an online survey. Of the 356 participants who received the email, 165 completed the survey for a return rate of forty-six percent. The five possible responses for each question were based on a Likert scale ranging from increased significantly to decreased significantly. The data was coded and frequency tables were compiled. The data was statistically analyzed for mean, standard deviation, standard error, sample variance, skewness, and kurtosis using Microsoft Excel.

The five questions used for this study focused on changes in understanding of self, sense of independence, self-confidence, adaptability, and sense of altruism as a result of the subjects’ experience as a Crossroads volunteer. Over seventy-five percent of the subjects responded positively for all five variables, leading to the conclusion that the Crossroads experience positively affects the participants’ personal development.

This research establishes a base for further study and can be used by Crossroads and similar organizations for marketing and programming. This research identifies a group for future research and adds to the research of Pfinster (1972), Kauffman (1984), and Pyle (1981) about the effects of international service in developing countries.


International and Comparative Education

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