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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


International Studies

First Advisor

Phyllis Thompson

First Committee Member

Maureen Lancaster

Second Committee Member

Kent Warren


The research project asks the question: What role does storytelling have in enhancing cultural self-awareness and achieving perspective transformation in terms of values, attitudes, and assumptions about the world? The study group comprised people who participated between 1995 and 2009 in a year-long Colorado Vincentian Volunteer (CVV) program for young adults. It combined an online survey with 1-hour follow-up interviews by phone with nine individuals. This data is augmented with written stories produced during their volunteer year by the interviewees. The study shows that over 90% of those surveyed agree that regular, structured reflective story-telling sessions helped consolidate their learning and foster perspective transformation as defined by Mezirow (1990). Analysis of interviews plus evidence from written stories supports these claims and also illustrates volunteer development of cultural self-awareness as described by Yoshikawa (1980). I conclude that storytelling can be a significant emotional, psychological, and intellectual support to people involved in voluntary intercultural experiences.



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