The expression ‘eye-opening’ was a popular one after an interview with Tarleton State University psychology students and professors who recently returned from a study abroad trip to London, Paris and Amsterdam.
The 10 students and two professors spent 10 days overseas experiencing different cultures and talked about what it was like for them.
“We had numerous goals because Europe is so rich in psychological history. We were able to visit so many places that we learned about in classes, so instead of just reading about them in a book we were able to see and feel and experience it, and I know we accomplished that,” Dr. Amber Harris-Bozer said.
The class visited the Natural History Museum, Charles Darwin’s home and Sigmund Freud’s home in London, and traveled to Anne Frank’s house in Amsterdam.
One stop was to the Eiffel Tower where they watched it light up as the sun set.
“There were people from all different nationalities that were there. All kinds of languages and really for that moment in time we were all just bonded about this symbol of peace,” Harris-Bozer said. “Which I think currently for all of us is something that’s really important.”
Each student and the professors said the trip has changed them in some way.
“My biggest thing was walking away with a much more open mind and a love for the world,” Emily Roberts, a student, said. “I’ve never been outside of my comfort zone for such a long period of time, and especially in another country. This was my first time overseas so when I came back I felt like my perspective on life and people in general had changed.”
For student Hollee Stone the trip was the first time she had been on an airplane and traveled outside of the United States.
“It was just really eye-opening to see the difference between the way they run their society and the way we run our society. The biggest thing I kept talking about over there were the school systems,” Stone said. “Over there, by the time they leave high school they know three or four different languages. It’s eye-opening to see that they learn different languages because they want to, because they want to be able to communicate with everybody.”
Jay Helmer made it clear that he loves being an American, but after his experience overseas, said he felt he would enjoy living there.
“It’s quite eye-opening to see that while many countries view us as being the place to go - the open country, the one everyone sees as still really good for opportunities - when it comes to that, it doesn’t really seem like we are,” Helmer said. “Their degree of love and openness is completely different from ours.”
Brooke York also had an experience on the trip in regards to what’s happening in the world.
“After being in Paris and all the other places, seeing the tragedies that have happened over there, it kind of pulls on my heart more,” York said. “I’ve been there, it’s real, it’s not just something that’s happening in the world that doesn’t relate to me.”
Bozer said it was interesting that so many people were wanting to talk politics with them from other countries.
“There was a guy who couldn’t speak English and our French had been exhausted, and all he said was, ‘No Trump,’” Bozer said with a laugh. “They really wanted to engage us in political conversations and they appeared to know quite a bit about not just what’s going on there, but what’s going on here, which was a nice experience.”
Dr. Jamie Borchardt said her perspective on learning and teaching has changed since the trip.
“Whenever I teach about Freud now I can say, ‘Ok here are the pictures of his house, I’ve actually been there.’ Whenever we teach about those things I think if we’re reading the material out of the textbook and just getting the information secondhand, it’s not the same as actually being there and getting the information to bring back,” Borchardt said. “I feel like it's going to change the way I teach. What this has done is made me want to travel everywhere.”