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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Intercultural Relations

First Advisor

Chris Cartwright

Second Advisor

Kent Warren

First Committee Member

Michael Osmera

Second Committee Member

Laura Bathurst


During the span of 27 months, Peace Corps volunteers live and work in different countries and cultures all over the globe. The various projects that Peace Corps volunteers work on together with their host country nationals can prove extremely challenging due to many cultural differences. This research assessed the influences of cultural differences on Peace Corps projects that volunteers experienced while working with Guatemalan nationals.

The literature review examined the issues of cultural differences and the effects 6 and influences that they could have on projects of host country nationals and Peace Corps volunteers. I have examined literature focusing on intercultural communication, cultural group membership differences, cultural identities, value orientations, and organizational value dimensions. I have also looked deeply into many of the differences between the collectivist culture of Guatemala and the individualistic culture of the United States.

I have compiled data from interviews with Peace Corps volunteers that I served with in Guatemala from August 2007 until November 2009. During their service, the volunteers worked in the programs of Municipal Development and Agricultural Development.

I hope for this research to provide detail into the influences of cultural differences between Peace Corps volunteers in Guatemala and Guatemalan nationals. I hope that this study can better prepare Guatemalan nationals and Peace Corps volunteers to have a superior understanding of each other's cultural identities to ensure that positive communication can lead to good outcomes for projects in the future. I also hope that Peace Corps facilitators and trainers can use the findings in this study for workshops and training sessions on intercultural relations not only in the Peace Corps Guatemala program, but for all other countries where volunteers are currently serving.



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