The field of psychology seeks to understand the factors that influence our thoughts, behaviors, and actions. Culture influences virtually every aspect of these. This program is designed to expose students to the unique aspects of particular social/cultural environments and how they interact with the brain to influence our thoughts, behaviors, and emotions and in turn, how they influence health and well-being. Students will be immersed in local cultures and explore how different cultures approach a wide variety of topics such as stress, health behaviors, social connection, and chronic illness.
Most of the program will take place in “Blue Zones,” areas and societies where people live longer, healthier, and happier lives, including the Italian island of Sardinia, the Greek island of Ikaria, and the Japanese island of Okinawa. In addition, we will stay in the medieval Tuscan hill town of Siena, and an area near Tokyo. Program activities will include lectures provided by local specialists, interviewing locals, cooking courses, visiting sites of local and cultural significance, hiking and exploring rural and smaller towns, riding bicycles, tending to a local garden, making cheese, living close to nature, and living in general, as the locals do.