There is growing interest in the potential of international service to foster international understanding between peoples and nations and to promote global citizenship and intercultural cooperation, and international service may be growing in prevalence worldwide. Despite the scale of international service, its impacts are not well understood. Although there is a growing body of descriptive evidence about the various models and intended outcomes of international service, the overwhelming majority of research is based on case and cross-sectional studies, which do not permit conclusions about the impacts of international service.
This paper reports on a quasi-experimental study that assesses perceptions of the impact of service on international volunteers, matched to a comparison group that did not volunteer internationally during the same study period. The results of this quasi-experimental study suggest that international volunteer service has a positive impact on international volunteers’ perceived international awareness, international social capital, and international career intentions. However, compared to the non-participants, results suggest that international service does not have an impact on volunteers’ perceived intercultural relations. In addition, several variables are found to influence specific outcomes.
Project: Advancing Research & Policy on International Volunteer Service
McBride, A. M., Lough, B. J., & Sherraden, M. S. (2010). Perceived impacts of international service on volunteers: Interim results from a quasi-experimental study (CSD Research Report No. 10-22). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.