Exploring Psychology: Austria in Summer 2015


Close your eyes and imagine going to a foreign city with a few classmates.  Place yourself on the sidewalk outside a bakery that is opening its doors for business, just after they placed assorted pastries and pies in the display cases. Drizzled cinnamon sugar and comforting maple frosting would become the added nutrients to each breath you inhale.  For those students accepted into the Austria: Exploring Psychology study abroad program, the bakery image very well may become a reality. Professor Leighann Chaffee says in her Psychology of Food and Culture course, “Vienna has a big café culture and we’ll be going there to sit and drink coffee and eat cake for hours.”

In the summer 2015 quarter, students will have the opportunity to enroll in 12 credits (which qualifies students for financial aid). Five credits will be Psychology of Food and Culture, an additional five for Psychology of Superheroes: An Exploration of Good and Evil, and an optional two credits for Directed Readings.

The reason students are going to Austria, Chaffee said, is “that is where Freud worked and studied as he was developing his perspective on the human kind. Also, immersion is especially useful in considering these concepts from a perspective other than your own, which is a lot easier in another country. For Dr. Harris’s class [Psychology of Superheroes], there are some really neat sights and historical monuments and museums that speak to the content that we just don’t have right here.”

Chaffee offered details regarding the food and culture course she teaches. “We’ll go to the Natural History Museum and the open food market where there are a lot of cafés as well.” Students will also do a food tour of Prague, Czechoslovakia. Dr. Harris uses the history of psychology to understand about good and evil. For this class, students will visit Freud’s apartment, go on a tour of Munich, including a trip to the Dachau concentration camp.

Chaffee doesn’t want the students thinking the study abroad course is just a big vacation.  “We have reserved lecture space at the University of Vienna, so we are going to have some actual class meetings that will look a lot like how Dr. Harris and I normally run a class—part lecture and part discussion. And there will be assignments that are more experiential than students are used to, but there will be exams. There will be class or course material six days a week.” Students will have personal time before or after scheduled class meetings and responsibilities.

Since hostels are popular in Europe but not meant for everyone, I asked Chaffee about the living arrangements while abroad.  “In Vienna, the house we’re staying in is by the train station. Students will have a single room and a shared living space. It’s really modern—it’s small, it’s Europe. From there, however, it’s convenient to go to the grocery stores and restaurants.”

Asked if there was anything else applicants should know, Chaffee said,  “Students should be prepared for extensive walking.”

Leighann Chaffee

Leighann Chaffee






Dr. Jennifer Harris

Dr. Jennifer Harris

To apply online, visit:


Completed applications due by 5 PM on March 13, 2015.

Written by Christie Keifer, Administrative Assistant for SBHS