The Chicago School's Center for International Studies and Center for Multicultural and Diversity Studies, along with the Chicago Campus, recently hosted an International Student Exchange which brought seven international students to the campus for a week-long program entitled "An Introduction to Psychology in the US."
A truly global group, two students came from China, one attended from Cambodia and another came from the United Kingdom. Another three students from Peru all came from the Universidad Peruna de Ciencias Aplicadas (UPC) in Lima, where The Chicago School has an International Liaison Office and where Dr. Leslie Wolowitz presented last September on international psychology and the effects of multigenerational trauma. The Peruvian students were accompanied by Liliana Galván Oré, the dean of the psychology school at UPC.
The objectives of the week-long program were to provide the exchange students with a thorough overview of various areas of professional psychology from the school's faculty, allow them to observe faculty and students in action through real-world settings, give them the opportunity to network with current students and Chicago School faculty, and allow them to learn by doing through participation in classroom activities and community outreach efforts.
"From the beginning I felt as if I were at home," said Elizabeth Milagros Montoya Santos, a student from Peru. "The interactions with others helped me not only to see internal points of view, but also a macro level, learning from other cultures, and enriching myself from them. Thanks to all the team that was a part of this challenging and interesting program. I leave full of wisdom and knowledge."
The customized curriculum allowed the visiting students to hear from a variety of faculty and students in different departments. As an introduction, students learned about graduate psychology study and matriculation in the U.S., and then had the opportunity to participate in discussions about clinical counseling in the U.S., forensic psychology, applied behavior analysis, industrial/organizational and business psychology, health psychology, school psychology and international psychology. The students also learned about Latino/a mental health issues in the U.S., the positive psychology movement, and The Chicago School Community Partnership program. Several of the programs provided interaction with current students at The Chicago School, fostering interactive dialogue on study in the U.S. and offering both TCSPP and the exchange students the opportunity to increase their multi-cultural awareness and global perspective.
The exchange students also got a chance to venture out, visiting two community partnership sites: Illinois Masonic Medical Center and the Center on Halsted. Of course, no trip to Chicago would be complete without a little sight-seeing. Students visited the Art Institute and took a mini-tour of State Street ending at Millennium Park.
Sebastián Echecopar Natteri, another Peruvian student, echoed other students' sentiments in how warmly they were treated during the visit. He was impressed with the willingness of each country to share knowledge with their neighbors, he said, "with the intention of mutually helping one another in this mission that we have of searching for a better quality of life for everyone that lives in our communities."
Another international student exchange is scheduled to take place at the TCSPP Los Angeles Campus from January 31 to February 5, 2010. The week will culminate with the Latino/a Mental Health Conference sponsored by The Chicago School's Forensic Training Institute in Los Angeles.