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Counseling psychology students and faculty travel with Semester At Sea


Posted on December 18, 2013 by Dr. Audrey Ervin, Assistant Professor of Counseling Psychology.

In May 2013, counseling psychology professors Dr. Allison Buskirk-Cohen and I accompanied three undergraduate counseling psychology students, Barb Krier, Sarah Stout and Krista Shafer, on an incredible Semester at Sea enrichment voyage. We sailed aboard the MV Explorer to France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Scotland, Ireland and England.

In addition to exploring global landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe in Paris, Grote Markt in Brussels, Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Edinburgh Castle in Scotland, and Giant’s Causeway in Ireland, we were invited to tour the world famous Behavioral Science Labs at Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands.

From left: Dr. Audrey Ervin, Krista Shafer, Dr. Allison Buskirk-Cohen, Sarah Stout and Barb Krier.

The shipboard community included expert lecturers who conducted workshops on topics including: psychology, global law, art, architecture, international business, tourism, photography, anthropology, sustainability and geography. Dr. Buskirk-Cohen presented, “Cultural Comparisons of Peer Relationships” and I presented, “The Art of Crossing Cultures.”

My “Art of Crossing Cultures” lecture addressed the cognitive, interpersonal and intrapersonal benefits of study abroad. Traveling the world can be both an exciting and simultaneously intimidating process as people are challenged to move beyond their comfort zones and expand their ideas of self and others in a diverse world. Drawing upon psychological theory and research, I addressed cultural immersion, culture shock, stages of cultural acculturation and strategies for personal growth as a result of study abroad. I also presented longitudinal pre-post data about how previous student voyagers were profoundly impacted by sailing with Semester At Sea.

Overall, it was an amazing journey and I feel so thankful for the opportunity to accompany our students on a voyage of discovery as they evolved from travelers to global citizens.

Dr. Audrey Ervin
Academic Program Director, Graduate Counseling Psychology
Assistant Professor of Counseling Psychology