Psychology is one of the most popular majors in the world – In the US alone, it ranks as the fourth most popular undergraduate major (NCES), while in the UK, it is the fifth most popular degree course (The Telegraph). The popularity comes as no surprise, since the subject happens to be very useful and highly applicable in the professional world. In addition to providing a wide range of career opportunities in clinical psychology, forensics and even advertising, psychology is a degree that offers tremendous personal growth opportunities.
Even though it may not sound like the typical study abroad major, there are fantastic opportunities for psychology majors to learn by spending some time overseas. Learn more about psychology study abroad programs right here.
Before you begin looking for international programs, you need to be sure of where you stand currently. The type of program you choose would depend on your current educational qualifications and the level of education you now intend to go for. Do you plan on getting a bachelor’s in psychology or are already working on your doctorate and need some international exposure? Once you have determined your educational objectives, you can start looking for universities and programs accordingly. With this, you will have two options: enroll directly or enroll through a program provider.
Enroll Directly: You can do this by listing name for your university’s exchange program. Exchange programs are a wonderful opportunity for students who are comfortable being independent in a new environment. At the end of the day, you will be responsible for the logistics of your trip and travel plans but under this option you also have greater control over your study plans.
Provider Program: This is a relatively simple process. It is a good option for those who have not travelled a lot otherwise and have little experience with obtaining visas, residencies, budgeting etc. In this option, you will have less choice in what you study because the programs are more strictly defined.
Popular Study Abroad Destinations for Psychology Majors
Universities all over the world offer fantastic psychology programs, allowing international students to gather the maximum amount of experience, working with the greatest thinkers in a variety of places. Studying psychology abroad will teach you the psychological aspects of different cultures and the mental mechanics of people in various settings around the world. Consider the following destinations for your study abroad programs:
China: The University of Hong Kong and Peking University are two potential options for those looking for international psychology programs. Studying at a university in China will expose you to the unique cultural complexities faced by the local people and will prove to be an interesting, engaging and educational experience.
Australia: Look into the Psychology programs at University of Melbourne, University of Sydney and the Australian National University. If you are looking for programs that will prepare you in both theory and practice, to make positive contributions towards the betterment of the society, Australia is the country you need to look into.
United Kingdom: UK is full of highly ranked programs in psychology – no surprise there. The programs at Cambridge, Oxford and University College London are some of the most competitive and sought-after in the field of psychology. Behavioral sciences and natural sciences are both considered very popular subjects.
Other Popular Countries for Psychology Study Abroad Programs: If you are looking for challenging destination that can provide you with unique and new opportunities to explore the field of psychology along with personal growth, you would have several countries as your options. You can always look into the psychology programs of the National University of Singapore, University of Tokyo, Spain’s Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, New Zealand’s University of Auckland or the University of Amsterdam. All of these institutions have fantastic programs that would allow you to greatly expand your horizons.
Cost Considerations for a Study Abroad Psychology Program
Moving abroad for your studies is a big decision. There are a lot of matters which you will need to consider and address before you begin packing your bags.
Living Expenses: The housing expense would be your main concern. You will need to decide the locality, kind of residency and your budget for living. Some providers help students throughout the entire process of getting a residence and settling into your new home. Once you are settled, the next expenditure you need to plan would be the food and utilities budget. Get to know the local cuisines but do not spend too much money on foods that ‘look’ interesting. When on a budget, stick to the safer and more filling options. For transport, you will need to map out your basic routes before hand and do some research on the local transport systems. Student ID cards might get you discount cards in most popular study abroad destinations.
Scholarships: Studying abroad can be heavy on the pocket because of a number of factors. It is not only the tuition fee you would be incurring, but you would also be paying for housing, utilities, transport, food, general entertainment etc. All these costs can add up to quite an amount. While you should try to keep the living expenses down as well, another way to bring the costs down would be to look into scholarships. To search for psychology-related scholarships, you might want to have a look at the following databases:
The American Psychology Association (APA): You can find a searchable database of scholarships here
Gallagher Koster: They offer yearly scholarships for students studying health services, including psychology. They are also open to applicants who are studying abroad
There are several other portals you can look through to find an organization that could fund your study abroad psychology program. Scholarship Portal, FastWeb, Grants.gov, IIE Passport etc are only to name a few
Skills Obtained Through a Psychology Study Abroad Program
Psychology as a subject encourages a certain sense of open-mindedness, and participating in an international exchange program or going for a degree abroad can enhance this openness. You will learn how psychologists in other countries are practicing and implementing concepts similar to your own understanding. This diversity will teach you a lot of new things about the nature of people and the changing nature of the field of psychology itself. If you are worried about language barriers, most international universities provide a variety of options for new foreign students to learn the native language.
Not only will an international program expand your horizons regarding the field of psychology, it will also expose you to a number of new experiences. Living in a new culture, surrounded by a completely different set of people as compared to those back home and experiencing a fresh, new environment will teach you a lot more than just human psychology. You will learn how to adapt to a different environment, interact with people who might not even know your language and will have to be an undeclared representative of your culture and traditions in a foreign land. These experiences would inculcate skills in your personality that would later help you in achieving your professional goals.
If you are planning a psychology study abroad program, you’re going in the right direction, for your future career growth, as well as your personal growth.