Psychology Senior Spends Summer Semester at Sea Studying and Visiting 10 Countries
Friday, September 20, 2013
Meet Angelica Audia
Expected Graduation: December 2013
Hometown: New Castle, Pa.
High School: Mohawk High School
College Activities: Confluence Psychology Alliance and the Honors Program
Hobbies/Interests: Travel, education and dance
Tell us about your Semester at Sea experience and the topics you studied.
I studied abroad this summer with a program called Semester at Sea with 530 other students. We were on what is essentially a cruise ship that navigated through 10 countries in the Mediterranean region for a little more than two months.
While traveling between ports, I took courses in comparative religion, gender politics and contemporary history of the U.S. and the Mediterranean. Each course required a field lab, which challenged you to apply and integrate the knowledge you acquired in class to the “real world.”
My gender politics field lab was in Morocco. We visited two women’s organizations and had the privilege of speaking with them about what they were doing to promote and fight for women’s rights in Morocco. They talked to us about their accomplishments but also about how any accomplishment can quickly be taken away from them with a regime change. It was disheartening to hear how their hard work can sometimes amount to nothing, but it was also so incredibly inspiring to see their determination to still work towards true equality for women.
What was your favorite part of the semester?
I cannot pinpoint any one moment that was my favorite because there were so many. When I reflect upon my summer, the things I remember most are not the sites I saw or the historical monuments I visited. Tourists can do all of that.
To me, that’s not the point of studying abroad. It was the hundreds of little epiphanies I had in countries where I thought, “This is what my professor was talking about in class!” It was the experiences I had talking to locals about their culture and their perceptions of my culture. It was talking to a teacher on the subway in Athens about how the economic crisis in Greece is personally affecting him. It was having a blast playing cards with two Bangladeshi refugees in an orphanage despite not speaking a bit of their language. Those are my favorite memories I take away from my study abroad experience.
Why did you choose to study psychology at Point Park?
Through this program, my interest in psychology has become a passion that ultimately changed and shaped me into a better, more understanding and appreciative person.
The psychology program at Point Park is really different than most other psychology programs. It doesn’t teach you that diagnosing and medicating people is the best method to help them. We are taught to think critically about common methods of therapy that essentially tell the client the problem lies within them and not their social or cultural context. Definitely talk to some of our psychology professors if you’re interested and they can tell you more about the program!
Describe Point Park’s psychology faculty.
Each professor is completely and uniquely awesome. They all are very engaging and thought-provoking. I don’t feel as though I’m just learning a trade or just being taught material for tests. I’m learning all those things but also so much more. I’ve learned to understand myself better as well as those around me. I’ve also learned how to interpret intuitively and think critically.
While each professor brings their own unique experience and interests to class, they all simultaneously foster a very cohesive psychology program where you can apply knowledge learned in one class to another. The classes really build off of each other to create a very positive learning environment. The psychology professors are my favorite part about this school.
What advice do you have for students considering the Semester at Sea program?
If you want to study abroad but can’t decide on any one country, definitely consider Semester at Sea. If you want to learn about multiple cultures and challenge yourself and your worldview, do it. I truly believe it will be one of the best, most memorable decisions you’ll ever make.
What are your career goals?
I know I want to further my education by going to graduate school and eventually get my doctorate, but I’m not sure exactly what I want to do yet. However, I do know that Semester at Sea has pushed me to become more globally-minded and has inspired me to want to better our education system in some way.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Study abroad! Our world is globalizing so quickly. Even if you’re not interested in other cultures and countries, chances are you’re going to have a lot of encounters with people much different than you. Our country, for example, has a huge influence in the global community and if we want to make that influence a positive one, we need to understand others better and not just push our own agenda on them.
You can study whatever you choose when you study abroad. However, what’s most important is the experience of interacting with people quite different than you and having to understand that there’s no “right” way to live or understand the world. This will really change you and give you invaluable skills that will translate across disciplines and jobs.