If studying psychology, or social work as your undergraduate major or minor interests you, it might be beneficial to explore Counseling Study Abroad Programs. Counseling & Therapy Study Abroad Programs allow you to earn valuable credits, travel and live with students from other countries, and do fun tourist activities.  A Study Abroad experience offers undergraduates the experience of learning from culturally diverse perspectives about human issues and behavior. Also, as a potentially life-changing event, a Counseling Study Abroad Program provides not only the foreign immersion component but also cultivates confidence and an expanded sense of self.

Why Consider Counseling Study Abroad Programs?

Offered in many countries worldwide, Counseling Study Abroad Programs give you the opportunity to receive a hands-on experience of meeting different cultures and populations. Counseling and Therapy are human-centered professions that require astute observation, social perceptiveness and listening skills.[i] What better way to learn than being in the midst of new people, situations and cultures?

"We are so made, that we can only derive intense enjoyment from a contrast and only very little from a state of things." Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)[ii]

Potential Benefits to Studying Counseling Abroad

In general, a study abroad program places you in the unfamiliar. While stepping out of your comfort zone and home campus might feel daunting, here are a few points to reflect on:

  • Lots of Interaction: Beyond the classroom and textbooks, you get to interact and build interpersonal skills, an asset for the counseling therapist.
  • Grow Personally and academically: Counseling and therapy involve meeting new people, and being able to communicate to a variety of potentially different and culturally distinguished groups of people.
  • Research: You might get to study in places where they may be doing some really interesting research
  • New challenges: Counseling Study Abroad Programs expose you to new people, fresh concepts, new ways of living, perhaps a new language, new classes, and a new way of viewing the world. 
  • Learn by comparison: Whether you choose a multi-country program, visit several cities, or just compare to your own culture, no doubt you will be rewarded with fresh insight into human nature, or learn cultural innuendos that can only be gleaned through in-person experience
  • Experience is valued: Many undergraduate programs require fieldwork or internship.
  • You could potentially be studying in the birthplace of important contributors to psychology, counseling and therapy. Vienna – birthplace of Sigmund Freud

Finding a Counseling and Therapy Study Abroad Program

There are a few ways to look for Study Counseling Abroad Programs. You might start by selecting a country, or you might want to search according to the term you can actually study abroad, whether for a full academic year, spring break, winter term. You basically set the parameters. Some of your options might include Summer Study Abroad in Vienna for psychology, or a Multi-City Program in Psychology and Social Work (Spain, France, Italy, Greece).

Things to Check Before You Go

Try to carefully look through a few programs to get a sense of the academics and the extras, and how well the itinerary is planned out. Peer reviews are often informative.

Also, make sure that you have crossed your “T’s” and dotted your “I’s” in terms of checking that the study abroad credits can be used in your home university, and that the grading systems are comparable. You might also want to pre-plan for when you get home; if mid-semester, make living arrangements in advance.

Take the Next Step

Counseling Study Abroad programs are a unique way to gain insight into the adversities that people face in different situations and cultures. Furthermore, they offer you the unique opportunity to watch and learn different research and treatment modalities of other countries for issues such as mental health, family relationships, social justice or immigration. Aside from that, most programs combine sightseeing, classroom learning and fieldwork and possibly some volunteer work to contribute to an overall memorable education. Continued success as you explore Counseling & Therapy Study Abroad Programs!

Sources: [i] onetonline.org/link/summary/19-3031.03 |[ii] psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201111/15-great-psychology-quotes-and-what-makes-them-great | apa.org/international/pi/2009/10/study-abroad.aspx |en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vienna | bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-workers.htm#tab-4 | usnews.com/education/blogs/college-admissions-experts/2011/09/28/what-should-students-know-about-studying-abroad