Study abroad will open your mind and change your life. It will also prepare you for the global professional environment of the 21st century.
You can fit education abroad into your undergraduate experience in many ways-by taking electives for general education requirements, or by taking a mix of major courses and electives. It is important to start early to develop a strategy to integrate study abroad into your academic program. Even if you do not start early enough, it does not mean you cannot take the opportunity to study abroad. You will just need to be prepared for courses to be above and beyond your degree requirements.
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How can you strategize most effectively?
Start early in your Penn State career, and use the following resources:
- The Education Abroad website describes the wide variety of programs, options, and financial aid available. Explore the grade requirements and application process, and note the deadlines of December 1 for fall programs, and April 1 for spring and full-year plans. The site also has information on the different types of programs Penn State offers: some are for independent-minded students ready to enroll directly in overseas universities; others provide curricula tailored to American students; and some have language or other course prerequisites. Programs vary in cost, and Penn State administers some offerings itself and runs others through partner institutions.
- Peer advisers, students who participated in an international education experience, are available for consultation on a drop-in basis 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. , Monday-Friday, in 412 Boucke Building. They can tell you about the study abroad experience as well as the program selection and application process. You should visit a peer adviser before making an appointment with an Educational Abroad Adviser.
- Education Abroad Advisers. It is important to work in partnership with an Education Abroad Adviser who works with the programs in the country you are interested in going to. After discussing where you want to go with a peer adviser, make an appointment with an (a professional adviser in the international office), to ask questions concerning your choice of program, the application process, and coordination requirements with academic advisers. Appointments may be made through Starfish or you can stop by the reception desk on 4th floor Boucke (814-865-7681). For general inquiries please email email@example.com.
- Liberal Arts Liaison to Education Abroad. Students who have narrowed down their choice of programs, but are unsure of which is best for them can meet with Chelsea Keen, firstname.lastname@example.org. As the liaison, she can help discuss student choices and what they hope to get out of the abroad experience to help in coming to a decision. She is adept in understanding the education abroad programs and is enthusiastic about helping students prepare to go abroad.
- Academic advisers. It is also necessary to work in close partnership with your departmental and college advisers to review courses you plan to take while abroad to see what may fulfill course requirements you have to complete. Please note that some courses may remain in your electives. The advisers can respond to your questions about the academic accreditation of courses you plan to take overseas. We recommend you stay in close touch with: 1) the Department of Psychology website: https://psych.la.psu.edu/ as well as 2) the College of the Liberal Arts academic advising website.
These are the key steps in making education abroad work for you. You will be surprised at how many options you have, how you can use your financial aid to study abroad, and how you can integrate education abroad into your curriculum and still graduate on time-if you start early to develop your strategy. Most students in education abroad are juniors and seniors; however, it is encouraged to not count on fulfilling major requirements while abroad. Your goal in studying abroad is to open your mind to the world while sharpening your professional qualifications. Studying abroad is an opportunity that not all students receive the opportunity to participate in. It is an experience that will stand out on your resume when applying for graduate schools and jobs as it will lend hand in you developing more self-reliance, self-confidence, and independence.
Where to Study Abroad
Below is a sampling of options suitable for students in Psychology. This list, which does not include all the programs open to you, gives you an idea of the kinds of programs available to you through the Penn State Education Abroad office. You will find that a large majority of the programs will work for you especially if you are looking to fulfill electives, general education requirements, supporting coursework, and Bachelor of Arts requirements. Please note that not every program is offered throughout the year as summer has a limited selection of programs to attend.
Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
Monash University, with 40,000 students, is one of Australia’s largest universities. Most students study at the Clayton campus, located in Melbourne’s suburbs approximately thirteen miles from downtown Melbourne. All courses in the psychology program are accredited by the Australian Psychological Society. The program promotes a basic understanding of scientific disciplines, and provides training in broad generic social science skills, including statistics, data analysis, presentation skills and team work. Courses include: Developmental and Biological Psychology, Cognitive and Social Psychology, and Psychological Testing, Theories of Ability and Ethics.
University of Leeds, Leeds, England
Leeds is the cultural and sporting center for much of its region, with a thriving local music scene featuring everything from soul and reggae to jazz and folk. The University of Leeds has long had a relationship with Penn State in many fields. The university, with 18,000 students, is a renowned center of learning and research, located in a prosperous commercial, industrial, and manufacturing city. The university’s School of Psychology provides excellent teaching and research facilities. Every semester the school invites distinguished guest lecturers. Courses include: Biological Perception and Communication, Social, and Cognitive Psychology, the Psychology of Effective Living, and Biological and Abnormal Psychology.
University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
Located on the tip of Port Phillip bay on the Yarra River, Melbourne is a cosmopolitan city with a population of 3 million. The University of Melbourne enjoys a reputation for academic excellence. Established in 1853, it is Australia’s second-oldest university. Bordered by park lands and the inner suburb of Carlton, the campus is composed of a historical blend of architecture, from the Gothic Revival of the last century to the red and cream period of the 1930’s and 1950’s. The university is large, with 31,000 students and eleven colleges. Psychology offers a broad range of subjects and courses aimed at providing a thorough and extensive grounding in the discipline. All courses are accredited by the Australian Psychological Society. Courses include: Introductory Experimental Psychology 1, Quantitative Methods for Psychology 2, Developmental Psychology 2, and Behavioral Neuroscience 2.
Université Paul Valéry, Montpellier France
Penn State is a partner with the University of Minnesota in administering the Education Abroad program at Universite Paul Valery in Montpellier. L’université Paul Valéry, the arts and humanities branch of the Université de Montpellier, lies in a 25-acre park situated to the north of the city. The campus is a 45-minute walk from downtown Montpellier. It currently has 19,000 students. Students generally take a mix of courses: courses designed for American students in French language and culture and (if their French competence is adequate) direct-enrollment courses at the Paul Valery with French and international students. Some French proficiency is a pre-requisite for this program. A variety of course offerings are available in the arts, social sciences, and humanities.
University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
Located in Brisbane, a city of one million in the southeast corner of the State of Queensland, the University of Queensland has two main campuses,St. Lucia and Gatton, with most students studying at the St. Lucia campus. With a population of over 25,000 students, the university is large and reflective of Australia’s multi-cultural society. The Psychological Science program provides an integrated and comprehensive education in the main areas of the scientific discipline of psychology, including developmental, social, cognitive, biological, and abnormal psychology. This program is well-suited for students who have an interest in the study of psychology as a structured program. Courses include: Introduction to Psychology: Physiological & Cognitive Psychology, Introduction to Psychology: Developmental Social & Clinical Psychology, and Psychological Research Methodology.
University of Sussex, Brighton, England
Founded in 1961, the University of Sussex is a relatively new and small university with a student population of 7,000.Sussex differs from most universities in that it is organized by schools (rather than departments of study), with plans underway to reduce the number of schools from ten to five. The University of Sussex is located only a few miles from Brighton, a lively seaside resort on the south coast of England. London is only an hour away by train. Though small,Brighton is surprisingly cosmopolitan and has often been dubbed “London-By-The-Sea”. The University of Sussex offers two types of psychology degrees, one a scientifically oriented program leading to a B.Sc degree and another leading to a B.A. Psychology at Sussex is extremely well developed and includes a rich array of program to choose from: Developmental Psychology, Social Psychology, Psychology and Management, and many others. Courses include; Research Methods in Psychology 1, Clinical Psychology, Personality and Intelligence, and Critical Thinking in Psychology.
How to Make Education Abroad count toward your major: a sampler of course accreditations
A key to a successful study abroad strategy is to integrate your international courses as seamlessly as possible into your Penn State curriculum and on to your transcript. Below you’ll find a sampling of international courses in psychology which students have substituted for Penn State credit and grades.
Keep in mind that many education abroad courses will not be accredited as specific Penn State courses, but as PSYCH 299 or PSYCH 499, generic course numbers for “foreign studies in psychology.” Departmental advisers in psychology can help determine how these courses can be counted for the major. Another thing to keep in mind is that students who want to accredit an international course, which has not previously been accredited, are responsible for submitting a syllabus or course outline to the Education Abroad office with the cover sheet they provide. The Abroad office will review and send to the appropriate department for review.