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Psychology and Culture in Europe

The Psychology and Culture in Europe program offers an opportunity for psychology students to gain a unique perspective on the cities of Rome, Venice and London. The spring semester 2014 pre-departure course will introduce students to the importance of these significant cities regarding contributions to the field of psychology. Travel for this program will occur in May session 2014. The London portion of the program will include field trips to numerous sites of historical and cultural interest. Accompanied by an Ohio State Psychology Director of Undergraduate Programs Alisa Paulsen, the group will also visit Cambridge, Bethlem Royal Hospital and the homes and museums of Freud and Darwin. The Italy portion of the program will include visits to the Roman Coliseum, Vatican and Hospital of Santo Spirito, San Servolo Madness museum along with other great sites of psychological importance.

Please click here for more information on the trip.

Please note that you will receive 3 credits of Psychology 5797 credit and 1 credit of Psychology 3193.01 for participating in this program. The Psychology 5797 credits DO NOT count toward your major program in psychology. The Psychology 3193.01 credit DOES count toward your major program as part of the six credit hours allowable of the following (Psychology 3191, 6193.xx, 4998) if you are under the 38.86 (58-quarter hour major).  If you started at OSU in AU11 or after, the Psych 6193.02 credit will be one credit hour of three you would need to count for one course of electives on your major (you can add additional 6193.xx hours or internship hours, Psych 3191 to this).

To learn more about this experience, please plan to attend an information session on Tuesday, September 11th from 5:00PM - 6:00PM in PS 35. If you have questions but are unable to attend the information session, please contact Dr. Alisa Paulsen at with any questions you have about the seminar or the experience in Europe and contact Leslie Anderson at with questions about the application process.

An American in Paris, London, and Rome - by Morgan Pond

During the May session, I was able to take part in the Psychology and Culture in Europe trip through the Department of Psychology. At the end of the trip, I also took a side trip to Rome with two of my friends. This was my first experience outside of North America and what an experience it was! Every day was a new adventure for all of us, whether it was navigating the subway system (the Tube in London or the Metro in Paris and Rome), ordering food in another language (I speak no French), or staring up into the rafters of St. Paul’s Cathedral. There was always something new and exciting for us to see, learn, or do, and I am so happy to be able to share my experience.

One of my favorite experiences was visiting Westminster Abbey. I have always been fascinated with British history and this place was chock full of it! Everywhere I looked, there was a grave of someone I have researched or a memorial to an event I had read about. There is even a memorial to Franklin Roosevelt, honoring his and the American assistance in World War II. One particularly interesting sight was the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier which is laid in the floor shortly past the main entrance. This grave is the only grave set in the floor on which no one may step, not even members of the royal family. I saw a similar memorial in Paris right under the Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile. As a future military wife, I was very pleased to see the respect shown in both of these places, not unlike what is shown at our own memorial in Washington DC.

Another fun experience was learning how higher education is different in other parts of the world. Here in America, we typically apply to a few schools and once we get in, we are a student at that university. We may belong to smaller colleges within the bigger institution. For example, I am a student in the College of Arts and Sciences at The Ohio State University, but we typically identify ourselves as belonging to the bigger institution. However, at the University of Cambridge, there are 31 colleges, each distinct and self-governing. When a student applies to Cambridge, they apply to the college within Cambridge that they wish to attend. Only when they finish their studies do they claim being a graduate of the University of Cambridge. There is no one college within the system that is “better” than another, nor are any preferred for a particular type of study, apart from the few colleges that are only for post-graduate work. As hard as that was to comprehend at the time, I am still not clear on how the higher education works at L’Université Paris-Sorbonne which is the university we visited in Paris. One thing I do know is that the building that we toured at L’Université Paris-Sorbonne looked more like a concert hall that a university to me. Beautiful pieces of artwork and sculpture surrounded us wherever we went.

Rome was altogether a different experience. I left Paris with two of my friends and boarded a plane to Italy. We had managed to find a nice, reasonably priced hostel very close to the central Metro station but that had been the extent of our planning. Between the three of us, we managed to get around to most everything we wanted to see. The contrast though, between the meticulously planned out part of the trip with the group and our own play-it-by-ear method, was very striking. However, I am impressed with what we were able to accomplish. Thanks to our navigation and some poorly pronounced Italian, we managed to see the Coliseum, the Vatican, and several little food, music, and art markets. By far, my favorite part of Rome was the food. I could have just eaten the bread on the table and been perfectly happy. It also gave me an opportunity to revisit all the Italian I learned when completing my language requirement, something I’d wanted to do for the last two years.

I learned a great deal about myself on this trip; the first and foremost being that I was not, as a previously thought, ready to go to graduate school next year. It had always been the plan to go to graduate school right after I completed my undergraduate degree, but I learned that I really want to travel more before I commit to any graduate work. I have never even been further west than Cincinnati, so even if my traveling is restricted to within the country I’d like to do it.

The other thing I learned is that even with a year off, I am still dead set on going to graduate school one day, simply because I love to learn. During the trip, we were required to keep a journal and every day write about our experiences. I kept mine on me at all times so that I could take notes because I didn’t want to miss a thing. Everywhere we went, I learned something new and I was always sad when I missed something in my journal because of all of the information that was being loaded onto me.

I learned a great deal about the differences in the world. Americans have ways of doing things that are unique, as do Londoners, Parisians, and Romans. People everywhere are different, and this is perhaps one of the most valuable things I learned on the trip. I want to learn these differences, learn about how they affect different populations and groups. I kept wondering what is so different about Europeans that they don’t refrigerate their milk or hard boil their eggs? Or, why as Americans we do? Differences and simi-larities are fascinating to me-people are fascinat-ing to me. What this trip did for me is make me realize how much I really do love psychology. In psychology I can study differences or similarities or anything about people and the way they think. If there was ever a doubt in my mind that I was stud-ying the right subject, this trip erased it.

This trip was an invaluable experience to me and I truly encourage anyone who is interested to learn more about it and apply. I made some great friends on this trip, many of whom I had not met before this trip and may not have had I not gone. I learned a great deal about history, psychology, cultures, traveling, and most importantly, myself. If anyone has any questions about the trip or would like to hear more about my experience, please email me at