As part of our long-standing commitment to diversity and social justice, CPSY strongly encourages students and faculty to take educational trips abroad. This encouragement serves two purposes.
First, we seek to expand our understanding of international psychology. Media presentations and textbooks cannot compare to the opportunity to actually walk the streets, see the sights, and hear the sounds inherent to another culture. We learn about the psychology of a new region of the country, or of the world, through our travels, and by developing new personal and professional relationships.
Second, we learn so much about ourselves as psychologists, social psychologists, and counselors by taking an educational trip. Traveling in another country teaches us patience, compromise, collaboration, innovation, and flexibility. We ask all of these things of our clients, research participants, and colleagues – why not of ourselves? Ask anyone who has traveled on a CPSY trip; the personal and professional growth is astounding!
To help us with ever-increasing travel costs, we are asking you to support the Jolaine L. Hill Foundation Fund. While a student in our graduate program, Ms. Hill participated in a two-week trip to South Africa, one of her “bucket list” trips. The trip included visits to townships, schools, and universities, where historical and psychological discussions with a wide variety of residents were encouraged. In addition, amazing photo opportunities existed at every turn (from lions, elephants, and zebras to mountains and oceans). Upon their return, student travelers had expanded their ideas for research and practice, incorporating their expanded world views into their plans. When she created this fund, Ms. Hill was clear that she wanted to help others have the opportunity she had to make a life-changing trip.
In the ensuing years, CPSY faculty have organized trips to St. Lucia and Trinidad to provide peer mediation in local primary schools, and to Iceland to work with Icelandic youth in summer work camps. Others have been to Spain and Portugal to work in neuroscience labs. More recently, students traveled to Amsterdam to study the social psychology of human sexuality. Students have participated in trips to Peru, Cambodia, and Vietnam through other, non-CPSY study abroad opportunities. Future plans include attending the World Congress of Psychology in Prague, returns to South Africa and Iceland, and a social psychological trip through Western Europe.
Our purpose has not changed: creating more culturally effective graduates through the opportunity for travel to another country, then incorporating that new-found understanding into our own work. The world is getting smaller every day, and the diversity of our clients and colleagues demands that we broaden our understanding of the field.
We are excited to share our goals with you!