Learning Abroad for Psychology and Education Majors

"Studying psychology and education in different countries is a wonderful way to learn about cultural influences on different psychological phenomena such as children’s development, definitions of learning and cognition, interpretation and treatment of mental illness, and family and group relationships. Students interested in education gain many new perspectives by working in schools in other countries. Studying abroad is a compelling learning experience — one that illuminates and challenges assumptions about every aspect of human life and learning — that enables students to see psychological processes and educational endeavors in new and expanded ways." — Patricia Ramsey

The Psychology and Education Department encourages its majors to seek out learning opportunities abroad and will strive to provide support to accommodate a summer, single semester, or year, abroad. Learning abroad may provide unique study and/or research opportunities that will greatly expand a student’s understanding of, and engagement with, psychology and education.

Alternatively, a period abroad may also be used as a hiatus from the major, providing time to explore other elements of a student’s liberal arts education before returning to the major. In either case, by immersing themselves in another culture and engaging with unfamiliar perspectives, students will develop skills and competencies for careers and citizenship in a global world.

Study Abroad

Where to Study
The Psychology and Education Department encourages students to think broadly about their goals for study abroad in choosing a host destination.

  • In addition to programs in English-speaking countries, students can also take psychology and education courses in English in Korea, Japan, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Hong Kong, Hungary, and Denmark.

For a list of where past and present psychology and psychology and education majors have studied and a summary of the courses that they took abroad, check this searchable database. Note that this is not a definitive list of what is possible and should serve only as a useful guide and planning resource. The McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives Study Abroad website is also an excellent resource for programs, application procedures, deadlines, financial aid, and more.  Laurel Fellowships (need-based financial aid) are readily available to qualified students.

When to Study
It is of vital importance that students keep departmental requirements in mind when planning to study abroad. Almost no planning hurdle is insurmountable, as long as students consult with their advisor and, where necessary the department chair, to address these issues ahead of time.

Credit Transfer
Psychology majors interested in studying abroad for a single semester will generally find the fall or spring of junior year to be the best options. We highly recommend that you take Psych 201 and 200 before you go in order to open the option of enrolling in more advanced courses abroad. However, it is sometimes difficult to find appropriate 300-level labs, so we recommend that you plan on taking them before you go (if you are going in the spring semester) or after you return.

Psychology and Education majors who wish to pursue a teaching license while at Mount Holyoke either through Option I of the Psychology and Education Major or the Minor in Education can also complete a study abroad experience. Students should contact Ms. Sarah Frenette (the Five College Teacher Licensure Coordinator) as early as possible (preferably before sophomore year) in order to discuss options for study abroad that will also enable them to complete requirements for the major, the minor, and teacher licensure.

As a general rule nearly all elective offerings at foreign institutions for which students meet the prerequisites will be accepted for 200-level credit toward the majors. Core courses are frequently difficult ones for which to locate a match elsewhere. Therefore, a useful planning guideline is to look for courses abroad that meet the elective requirements of the major, and to take Statistics, Research Methods, and 300-level courses on campus. Students who would like to take a psychology course to meet a distribution requirement should get pre-approval from the department.

Summer Internships and Research Abroad

An international summer internship or research project is a good way for psychology and psychology and education majors to apply and develop their skills and explore possible career paths while engaging with cultures and perspectives outside the United States. Those majors involved in significant research collaborations with faculty may find a summer internship to be the best fit with their plans for their time at the college.

Internships
Funding is available through the Lynk Universal Application Form (UAF). For more details about internship opportunities and funding, please contact Kirk Lange, Director of International Experiential learning at the McCulloch Center.  

Next Steps

Students interested in exploring possibilities for learning abroad are encouraged to contact the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives.  April Stroud is the primary advisor for study abroad, and Kirk Lange can offer guidance on internships or research abroad. Students should also consult with their advisor about how they can best connect and integrate learning abroad with their work in the major.