Recent Research Project – Jennifer Watson
CISV was studied extensively in its first couple decades, and in 2002 a follow-up survey was conducted. Here are excerpts of the results:
“Nearly three quarters of the respondents felt that CISV had been influential in their development of friendships, their ability to communicate with others and their development of skills in working with others towards a common goal, the three major CISV goals. An even greater proportion (89%) felt that they had learned things in CISV that they would not have learned in school, particularly through active participation both in international programs and in Junior Branch, Local Work or organizational involvement in their own Chapters. For these people, it seems clear that the educational effects of CISV participation were significant.
“The impact of CISV participation on the personal development/ life of participants’ interests developed through, or encouraged by, CISV participation led to specific choices of fields of study or decisions in career development for several of the people who responded, as illustrated above. The majority of CISV participants in this sample chose careers, such as teaching and medicine, in which personal contact with other people and a possible desire to make a positive contribution to the welfare of others are integral. Many respondents also highlighted ways in which participation at various levels of CISV had helped them to develop personal and interpersonal skills that had been valuable later in life. It is interesting to note that about 30% of former CISV participants took courses in additional languages for their own interest and 20% had spent significant periods of time living and working in a country other than their country of origin. Several of these respondents indicated that their interest in language or in work in other countries had been directly stimulated encouraged by their CISV participation.
“The enduring effect of CISV participation, quoted above, “A life changing, invaluable experience, never to be forgotten,” was explicit in many responses to various questions. The overall effects of CISV may not be fully statistically quantifiable, but the over-whelming majority of respondents felt that their early involvement in this intercultural educational program had an enduring effect. As one respondent wrote:
“The effect is probably endless. Experiences of cultural diversity foster a reflection on one’s own culture and history. It is to do with prejudice and challenging cultural norms. I think CISV is not so much about maintaining lasting friendships across country borders. It is more about taking from the experiences it provides and putting back the benefits into what we do in our daily lives.”
(Excerpted from the full 2002 report by Jennifer Watson, found at https://cisv.org/resources/educational-content-research/research under “Recent Research Projects”)