Psychology professor to lead semester-long study abroad program in London

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Psychology professor to lead semester-long study abroad program in London

Dr. Amy Borchardt is hoping to lead a study abroad trip to London, England next semester.

Dr. Amy Borchardt is hoping to lead a study abroad trip to London, England next semester.

Natalie Yaeger

Dr. Amy Borchardt is hoping to lead a study abroad trip to London, England next semester.

Natalie Yaeger

Natalie Yaeger

Dr. Amy Borchardt is hoping to lead a study abroad trip to London, England next semester.

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Amy Borchardt, associate professor of psychology at Mercer University, is hoping to spread the importance of studying abroad and understanding different cultures through her new study abroad adventure in London, England, during the upcoming spring semester. 

Mercerians return from their study abroad experiences with a new sense of self, a stronger focus on their academic pursuits and a deeper appreciation of different cultures, languages and learning environments,” according to the study abroad website

These ideals that Mercer tries to instill in students about study abroad have led to the creation of a new study abroad opportunity in London, England, led by Borchardt. 

“This is a new study abroad hybrid program where Mercer is teaming up with two other American universities,” Borchardt said. 

The two other universities involved in this program are the University of Wyoming and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. One professor from each university will work with Borchardt to teach classes in their specific areas.

Many different subjects will be addressed, and they will count towards credit for specific majors as well as — perhaps more importantly for some students — general education requirements. 

Some of the courses being offered include Introduction to Psychology and Health Psychology, both taught by Borchardt, as well as classes in art history, English studies and British life and culture. 

“All of these classes, including the ones being taught by other professors, will give Mercer students both Mercer grades and credit,” Borchardt said. “It’s like you’re in Mercer in Macon, but you’re actually in London!”

This format is different from many study abroad opportunities, as those taught during the summer by other institutions are oftentimes not counted towards the overall grade point average  of the student, according to Borchardt.

“Even if these students are not trying to check a box for general education requirements, these classes can be used as elective courses as well,” Borchardt said. “This is a really great way of getting 12 or 15 credits while experiencing another country and other worldviews.”

This program includes housing in either a shared homestay or apartment, a transportation pass, insurance coverage, a special orientation program, sightseeing in London and more. 

The sightseeing component includes day trips to Oxford, Cambridge, Bath and Stonehenge, as well as numerous theater performances, walking tours and sporting events. 

Students can also pay an additional $625 to have a four-day weekend in Scotland, including trips to Edinburgh, Loch Ness and the Isle of Skye.

Students who participate in the program will also be granted membership into the Imperial College Student Union.

The Imperial College Student Union is made of Imperial College London students who work to “achieve the best experience for every student and help every member realize their potential. Every one of our members is able to lead, create and influence change in every one of our activities, campaigns and services,” according to the Imperial College Union website.

Tuition to attend the program is the equivalent of Mercer tuition. Program fees come to $10,000 to $12,000 per student. 

Borchardt said she hopes that this trip will help teach students “soft skills,” including creative thinking, team work, problem solving skills, being comfortable with unfamiliar situations and just learning interpersonal skills important to the workforce. 

The benefit of study abroad in general is that they report being more confident afterwards. When they come back, they can say, ‘I’ve been in another country for three months. I got this!’”

— Dr. Amy Borchardt

“It helps you put your world in perspective and helps you have empathy towards people who are not like you, which is really important. This is something that Mercer itself is very interested in,” Borchardt said. 

It is this interest in expanding worldviews and seeing the world that has led to the creation of the new Global Leader Scholarship; students can get up to $8,000 to study abroad for eight weeks or longer.

Borchardt is looking to bring at least 12 students abroad with her in London. 

“Some of the biggest obstacles are … the other commitments students have that interfere with studying abroad, but I think we need to look at the bigger picture. What will be more helpful for you in your career? I just hope students can see the added value of what all study abroad can do. Mercer students are really active and really busy, but every student I’ve talked to has said how much it changes their life,” Borchardt said. 

This will be Borchardt’s first trip to London as well. 

“My husband and three-year-old daughter are also coming. I am just so thrilled to be in another country to teach my classes because we can really talk about cultural differences about health practices, health insurance systems, health care. Just seeing the difference in London versus Macon and pull all of that into my classes will really make the material just come to life for all the students,” Borchardt said. 

This study abroad opportunity in London is something Mercer hopes to continue. 

“If this year works well, there are plans to send another Mercer professor to do the program and then do a rotation. This is a long-term goal of continuing this. This is our first try at making a go of it,” Borchardt said. 

All students who are interested are encouraged to contact studyabroad@mercer.edu for more information and get further details about the application process.  

The application deadline to apply for study abroad in London is Oct. 15. Anyone with further questions may reach out to Borchardt.

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