Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
The purpose of the study is to understand the impact of service-learning immersion experiences on college students’ expression of cross-cultural empathy. The research question states: “How do intercultural service-learning programs impact a college student’s expression of cross-cultural empathy?” The research represented insights about a shared experience from eight participants who attended a small, faith-based, liberal arts institution in the Midwest. These students are part of a living-learning community; however, they participated in four different programs in domestic and international locations that allowed them to work with orphans and vulnerable children in an intercultural context. The researcher employed a phenomenological approach and derived three distinct themes based on the essence of the participants’ experiences. The three themes are as follows: the development of interpersonal relationships, the deconstruction of a savior complex, and fostering a sense of curiosity about other cultures. The study supports higher education’s focus on globalization efforts and diversity initiatives. Furthermore, it implies that institutions need to implement, emphasize, and strengthen service-learning programs as a way to encourage the development of cross-cultural empathy in their students in order to help them understand themselves and others in the context of the larger world.
Nicols, Amy Lynne, "Experiential Empathy: The Impact of Service-Learning Immersion Experiences on College Students' Cross-Cultural Empathy" (2015). Master of Arts in Higher Education Theses. 32.