Why Study Abroad is Perfect for Psychology Majors

by Troy Peden

Study abroad professionals are sometimes baffled by the high number of undergraduates studying Psychology abroad. But, there are some obvious connections, as well as some less than apparent reasons, why studying overseas appeals to psychology students specifically.

SA students at Versailes, France
SA students at Versailes, France. Photo by Troy Peden

Cultural Experiences.

Psych Students are interested in culture. The same desire to understand the human mind often attracts individuals who are interested in culture. How do people think and how do cultures think, appeals to a similar audience.

Abundance of Courses.

Psych majors can find an abundance of courses in their field particularly in English speaking destinations. Due in part to the worldwide popularity of the major and due to the often similar course topics. Psych majors can find courses in the UK, Ireland, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, and other destinations from Psych 101 to Advanced Abnormal Psych or Experimental Psych.

Religion & Philosophy.

Religion and philosophy are often distinctly cultural and ethnic and influence the way people think and act within a culture. Psych students are drawn to the way two people from two parts of the world react differently in a similar situation or experiment.

Students in Moscow, Russia

Origins of Psychology.

Modern psychology found its origins in Europe and Russia. From William Wundt’s lab in Leipzig to Pavlov’s dogs in Russia to Freudian thinking in Vienna. German, French, and British schools of Psychology guided the direction of this social science, until the behaviorists in the Americas in the 20th century.

Cross-Cultural Psych.

This is a fast growing branch in the field, which examines how cultural factors influence human behavior. Cross-Cultural psychology is particularly important in countries with growing immigrant and second language populations.

Interdisciplinary Nature.

Psychology is often an interdisciplinary major. Coursework in sociology, communications, anatomy, and human sciences can often be applied towards graduation requirements or used as electives. This allows for more course options for psychology majors when choosing international classes.

Helping Major.

Many students get into psychology because they want to help people; similarly, many students travel abroad to participate in service learning and alternative spring break trips, because they want to help people. Nursing, education, and psychology share these common motivations, which often results in more international student travel.

Great Psych Programs Abroad.

University faculty-led study abroad programs abound in the field of psychology. On top of that, there are even more semester and summer direct enrollment programs at international universities, which are ideal for psych students.