Psychology is a broad discipline with many specializations and applications; although, at its core it is study of human beings and how we interact with our environments. Psychology study abroad programs will give you profound new insight into how different cultural norms can influence societies and the individuals who compose them, elevating your perceptiveness both in and outside the classroom. In a discipline that focuses so much on the vast differences between cognition from one culture to the next, the question becomes, why NOT study psychology abroad?
Why Study Psychology Abroad
Psychology is an increasingly popular field of study all over the world, as universities continue to research different ways to tackle the behavioral demands of the 21st century. For those who are pursuing a psychology major out of theoretical or supplemental interest, traveling the world can be the perfect complement to the study of psychology. Those who are serious about a career in psychology and want to enter into the clinical or academic profession can likewise benefit from experiencing a new approach to the subject within a different university and cultural setting.
Most major colleges around the world have psychology departments, meaning that the language barrier might be your primary limitation when deciding where to study psychology abroad. Generally, national universities tend to use their native tongue as the medium of instruction, so unless you are adept in the local language you will likely have a hard time enrolling in many of larger public schools. The top destinations to study psychology abroad that are home to a number of English-speaking universities with plenty of psychology courses include Australia, South Africa, India, Canada, and England.
Of course there are alternative ways to study psychology abroad in the non-English speaking world too. There are many third party providers that offer psychology study abroad program at smaller satellite schools around the globe, featuring a course catalogue tailored for international students and often taught by local professors. While psychology courses may not always be available through this route, you will at least be able to take courses in a variety of fields related to psychology (ex. anthropology or sociology), and may be able to knock out a few general education requirements.
There are also opportunities to study psychology abroad that are specifically for psychology majors. These psychology study abroad programs are often shorter and run over the summer term as opposed to a traditional fall or spring semester, but can be a great way to explore the discipline among like-minded students through an interactive course-load. Why not spend several weeks embarking on an exploratory psychology study abroad program in Vienna, the home of the great Sigmund Freud?
Psychology Study Abroad Programs
Available courses will depend on where you study psychology abroad and what type of program or university you enroll in. Students attending large local universities will likely have the luxury of picking and choosing from an extensive course catalogue, while students attending smaller schools or third party programs will have a more limited selection.
Do not let the challenge of real cultural immersion deter you from traveling somewhere vastly different; sometimes culture shock can be an even more educational experience than any academic lesson, especially when it comes to psychology.
Popular subject areas within the discipline include social psychology, behavioral psychology, cognitive psychology, and educational psychology. The field is very far-reaching, and different cultures will likely place emphasis on different aspects of the discipline. Pay special attention to the available courses when choosing where to study psychology abroad and which program feels like the right fit!
Psychology study abroad programs are available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Choosing to study psychology abroad as an undergraduate will give you the opportunity to enroll for a single semester or full academic year at a foreign university and have your credits transfer back home toward your degree. At the graduate level, you will more often be expected to complete your whole degree abroad, though there are also research opportunities if you want to travel for a shorter period of time.
GoAbroad Insider Tips
Nurture. One of the most valuable things about studying psychology abroad is witnessing the countless ways in which culture and environment help to mold human behavior. You will see people behaving everyday in much different ways from home, and the only explanation lies with how their society nurtures them!
Nature. At the same time, you will become aware of your own predispositions and cultural tendencies during your psychology study abroad program, which means you’ll begin to sort out what may have been conditioned (or “nurtured”) into you, and what underlying aspects of human nature we all share in common.
Good Old Fashioned Fun. Leaving behind the psychological jargon, studying abroad will be one of the best memories you ever create. The sense of freedom and newfound learning while studying abroad are simply irreplaceable.