The High Plains Society
Applied Anthropology

Short-Term Mission Trips and the Enhancement of Cultural Awareness

Kellen Gilbert and William T. Hamilton

Many churches and religious organizations in the United States sponsor short mission trips to various locations around the world. These trips provide opportunities for service and spiritual gain and also for an experience in which missioners can enhance their cultural awareness and understanding. In this study we used surveys and interviews to collect data on the cross-cultural experience of short-term mission trip participants. We found that participants received little pre-trip preparation and most had insufficient foreign language skills. Missioners liked and benefited from the fellowship and service aspects of the trip but did not indicate that the experience led to increased cultural awareness. [missions, short-term mission trips, cultural awareness]

The Applied Anthropologist, No. 2, Vol. 29, 2009, pp 127 - 134

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