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The researcher conducted an exploratory pilot study to validate testing measures and answer three questions: 1) What are the motivations of the majority U.S. participants to join a cross-cultural intentional community in rural Panama? 2) How do the motivations of the short term residents change over acculturation? 3) How does acculturation relate with cultural orientation? The study included interviews and a specifically designed survey to assess the acculturation, cultural orientation, and motivations of the short term residency interns and long term residency directors. The survey was administered online and by hand, once during the first and last halves of a 12-week summer residency intern program. Primary, secondary, and tertiary motivations of participants were found with a main theme of transformative education and experiential learning. The intrinsic motivations of the interns changed with agency and varied with the extrinsic motivations of the directors. The horizontal collectivism (interdependence) subscale of cultural orientation had a strong positive and significant relationship with acculturation for the overall directors; as well with the cultural identity subscale of acculturation for the overall participants. Implications of this study offer further interest into the transformative education and experiential learning opportunities of cross-cultural intentional communities, and the requisites for optimizing study abroad programming.
Ph.D Student, Department of Transpersonal Psychology, Residential Program, Sofia University, Palo Alto, California, USA