What contributes to a satisfying, meaningful, and engaging life? What conditions allow people to flourish? This two-week study abroad course offers a deep dive into positive psychology, starting at its roots. This course will review core concepts in the philosophy and science of well-being, including positive emotions, purpose in life, and resilience. Students will gain access to the latest research and engage in experiential learning to apply scientific inquiry to the understanding of a life well-lived. The study of happiness is rooted in ancient Greece. Greek philosophers, most famously Aristotle, spoke on happiness and their theories of the Good Life. Greece will be used as a case study to illustrate cultural differences in the experience, expression, and societal valuation of well-being. Students will explore Greece’s strong roots in philosophy including eudaimonic and hedonic traditions of happiness, and explore connections to modern theory, research, and practice on well-being. Integration of classroom and experiential learning will facilitate open communication around varying cultural definitions and expressions of well-being, foster reflections about their personal beliefs about positive experiences and institutions, and encourage the pursuit of novel experiences that increase their own levels of flourishing.
Seeking credit for the following:
Psychology (PSYC) 417: Science of Well Being
Psychology (PSYC) 461: Special Topics
This program is open to all undergraduate students including students who do not attend George Mason University.
Double or triple occupancy in hotels
Program Cost (Summer 2017): $4290
Tuition (3 credits)
Group excursions and activities, including transportation
International Emergency Insurance
Welcome to Greece! Orientation to Athens
Morning lecture: Philosophy of happiness: Greek writings of the Good Life
Morning lecture: Modern theories of well-being
Morning lecture: Positive emotions
Classical Athens tour in the morning followed by afternoon lecture: The mind-body connection: The role of biology in well-being
Morning lecture: Mindfulness across cultures: Eastern roots and Western adaption followed by classical Greece tour (continued)
Morning lecture: Meaning and purpose in life followed by classical Greece tour (continued)
Morning lecture: Personal strivings and life narratives followed by classical Greece tour (continued)
Morning lecture: Morality and spirituality: Cultural intersections of five moral foundations. Followed by classical Greece tour (continued)
Mykonos Cruise. Lecture on ship in the morning on social relationships
Continued Mykonos Cruise. Lectures on ship in the mornings on Resilience
Cruise returns to Athens. Lecture on ship in the morning on "Why some countries are happier than others?"
Conclusion of program in the morning. Depart for US in the afternoon.
*Instructor reserves the right to modify the course schedule as needed
** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.