How we can understand the full picture of mental illness beyond suffering? What contributes to a satisfying, meaningful, and engaging life? What conditions led people to flourish versus languish? This two-week study abroad course offers a deep dive into clinical psychology with a unique perspective that incorporates the latest research from positive psychology.
For decades, researchers and practitioners have theorized psychological disorder and health as opposite ends of a single continuum. This course offers a more nuanced, data driven approach to uncover the many ways that people with psychological disorders experience well-being. This unique course bridges the gap between traditional deficit-based approaches to mental illness and modern, strength-based approaches. We first review core concepts in the study of psychopathology, including what distinguishes adaptive functioning from a mental disorder. We take a deep dive into the most common mental health disorders: mood disorders, anxiety disorders, trauma-related disorders such as PTSD, and schizophrenia. Our course culminates in Vienna, a place some refer to as the birthplace of modern psychology and psychotherapy. Vienna is rich with psychological history, a place once home to the greats of early psychology -- Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler, and Otto Rank.
After students learn foundational concepts of mental illness, we shift our focus to a strengths-based approach to mental health and review research on the positive emotions, meaning and purpose in life, and social relationships. We review works of yet another Austrian native, Victor Frankl, to take a deep dive into human suffering and how people develop a profound sense of meaning through adversity. We tie in research on each areas of well-being among people diagnosed with major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, social anxiety disorder, schizophrenia, and trauma-related disorders. We highlight often overlooked findings that not all people with mental illness are devoid of well-being. Integration of classroom and experiential learning will facilitate open communication around varying historical approaches to mental health, foster reflections about their personal beliefs, biases, and stigmas about mental illness, and encourage the pursuit of novel experiences that increase their own levels of flourishing.
All undergraduate students are welcome to apply including students who do not attend George Mason University. Minimum 2.25 GPA.
Students will choose one 3-credit course during the application process.
- PSYC 325: Abnormal Psychology
- PSYC 461: Special Topics: Abnormal Psych & Well-being
- INTS 399: Study Abroad
May 20 - June 2, 2018*
||Arrival in Budapest. City tour and welcome dinner.
||Lecture: Intro to Hungarian History, Culture, and Language
Visits: Terror House Museum, Hero Square and City Park
||Lecture: Mental Health Care in Hungary
Visit: Local industry practitioner/facility. Evening dinner cruise on the Danube River.
||Visits: Buda Castle and Parliament Buildings
||Visit: Local Mental Health practitioner/organization
||Lecture: Strength-Based Mental Health projects in Hungary
Visit: Roma Cultural and Educational Centre of the Capital
||Train to Vienna.
Lecture: Intro to Hungarian History, Culture, & Language and City Tour
||Visit: Sigmund Freud Museum and childhood home
||Lecture: The Birthplace of Modern Psychology
Visit: Schoenbrunn Palace
Workshop and social evening with local University psychology students
||Visits: Viktor Frankl Museum and Vienna State Opera House
||Train to Prague.
Lecture: Intro to Czech History, Culture, & Language and City Tour
||Lecture: Psychotherapy and Crisis Intervention in Prague
Visits: Museum of Communism, Prague Castle, and Charles Bridge
||Visit: Jewish Ghetto
||End of program. Departure.
* Dates and itinerary subject to change. The Global Education Office reserves the right to make changes to a program in light of currency fluctuations, changing security and safety conditions, and/or any other unforeseen circumstances.
Summer 2018: $4,150
Included: Tuition for 3 credits, accommodations, entrance fees/tours/guides as described in itinerary, some breakfasts, some group meals, in-country transportation, international emergency medical insurance.
Not included: Airfare*, passport and visa fees, some meals, required textbooks and/or course materials.
*Participants must arrange their own airfare, once instructed to do so by the Mason Global Education Office.
Students on MasonGEO programs must pay the advertised program cost in order to participate. This cost will be made in three payments (Deposit + First Payment + Final Payment). Students using financial aid can provide additional paperwork in lieu of deposit and final balance payments.
Application Deposit: A non-refundable program deposit $200 must be received by the application deadline. This fee is paid online through the MasonAbroad application system and is included in the program fee.
First Payment: A non-refundable payment of $1000 must be received by March 11, 2018 in order to confirm your enrollment in the program. Students who are using financial aid may have this payment deadline extended. See "Financial Aid" information below.
Final Payment: The final balance payment is due by April 8, 2018. This is the difference of your Program Cost minus the $1200 you've already paid (Deposit + First Payment). Students who are using financial aid may have this payment deadline extended. See "Financial Aid" information below.
Financial Aid and VA Benefits: Students who intend to use financial aid or their VA benefits to fund their program fees (partially or in full) must have the "Intent to Use Financial Aid" or "Intent to Use VA Benefits Form" completed and on file with the Global Education Office by the First Payment deadline. The "Intent to Use Financial Aid" form is available in the MasonAbroad application system once you have started your application for this program. If you are using VA Benefits please contact your program officer to request the "Intent to Use VA Benefits Form."
For more information on payments, financial aid, and information for non-Mason students:
GEO offers a number of need- and merit-based scholarships. All Mason students are welcome to apply:
Sunday, March 4, 2018
Program Deposit: $200 for all applicants.
Course Selection Questionnaire: You will choose the course(s) you would like to be receive credit for on this program. Check the "Academics" tab to see what courses are offered on this program. If you need help selecting your course, check with your academic advisor.
Passport Status Questionnaire: You do not need a passport to complete this questionnaire or the application. However, if you do not have a valid passport, you should begin applying for one now. The Global Education Office offers Passport Grants to help.
Signature Documents: Read and electronically "sign" the documents regarding the acknowledgement of risk, the pre-departure orientation, and your financial responsibility.
Intent to Use Financial Aid Form: For Mason students only. If you use financial aid, this form must be completed by your financial aid counselor and submitted by the 1st payment deadline.
Additional requirements for non-Mason applicants:
Official transcript: To be mailed or emailed to the Global Education Office at George Mason University.
Non-degree Contract Course/Admission Form: Please complete the form and upload it into the questionnaire.
* Additional application requirements may apply to individual programs. Once you open your application, you will see all application requirements.