Graduation Year


Graduation Month


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

School or Department



English – Literature

Faculty Mentor

Cassandra Hemphill

Faculty Mentor Department

Communication Studies


letter exchange, international, cultural awareness

Subject Categories

International and Intercultural Communication


International written communication networks, such as pen pal programs, help spread cultural awareness by connecting people from around the world. Competent intercultural communication is the foundation for strong global partnerships. It encourages diversity, increases academic achievement, and gives individuals a competitive edge in the global workforce. This study examines changes in the cultural awareness of 50 U.S. undergraduate participants enrolled in an intercultural communication course at a northwestern university after they exchange private, online pen pal letters with 50 international partners from across the globe. The U.S. participants were divided into Group A (test-group) and Group B (control-group) and then a pretest was administered to both groups to assess their cultural awareness before the letter exchange began. The Group A exchange was conducted over a two-week period, after which the U.S. participants were re-tested. The Group B began their exchange after the second test. The results of the tests were analyzed to determine whether the pen pal program increased cultural awareness in the U.S. undergraduate participants. Although no statistical increase was found, a lot of information and data was collected that future researchers and educators can use to develop their own programs.

Honors College Research Project


GLI Capstone Project




© Copyright 2017 Jenny-lin Smith, Mackenzie Lombardi, Rehana Asmi, Madison Hinrichs, Kayla Robertson, Lindsey Buck, and anna reid