Navigating Mismatched Expectations and Dissonance on International Nursing Service-Learning Trips


  • Elizabeth Anne Roark Yarbrough George Fox University
  • Stephanie Matthew George Fox University
  • Eloise Hockett George Fox University


This article examines the phenomena of mismatched expectations on international nursing service-learning trips and the resulting dissonance those expectations can produce in trip participants. The work of Festinger and others are used as a theoretical framework for recognizing the elements of dissonance and how to navigate through the various stages of dissonance before, during, and after a service-learning experience. Specific examples from students, international partners, and leaders on service-learning trips are used to illustrate how to recognize and acknowledge expectations in order to successfully navigate the associated dissonance. While dissonance may never truly resolve in international work, the awareness of how to navigate the dissonance can be utilized to improve cross-cultural collaboration and communication, while minimizing potential conflicts and misunderstandings.

Author Biographies

Elizabeth Anne Roark Yarbrough, George Fox University

Assistant Professor, School of Nursing

Stephanie Matthew, George Fox University

Assistant Professor, School of Nursing

Eloise Hockett, George Fox University

Professor, School of Education