From the President







  My Response

  Letters to the Editor

  Online Bulletin Board

  Contact Response

  Submit Footnote

  Submit Letter to Editor

  Address Change

  Back Issues

  Response Home

  SPU Home

Autumn 2003 | Volume 26, Number 4 | Campus
Passage to India: Graduate Psychology Students Immerse Themselves in Another Culture

from the clinical psychology Ph.D. program at Seattle Pacific University arrived in Vellore, India, in August 2003, they quickly noted the city’s vitality — people everywhere; cows, goats and dogs on the roads; honking cars and buses; and motorcycles carrying multiple passengers. “The most people I saw on a motorcycle was six,” says Associate Professor of Psychology John Thoburn, faculty advisor for the trip. “It was the whole family — father, mother and children.”

In the southeastern Indian city of 500,000, Thoburn led the doctoral students on a five-week “International Psychology Cultural Immersion Experience.” The students worked with the Christian Counselling Centre (CCC) in Vellore, focusing on clinical research. They took classes, presented papers and toured the 2,000-bed Christian Medical College, a psychiatric clinic and a jail. They also met Father Joseph, a Catholic priest who established the organization Pravaham Ashram to foster dialogue between Christians and Hindus.

As part of the SPRINT (Seattle Pacific Reachout International) program, the students had both life- and career-changing encounters. “I became more aware of my own culture by experiencing another,” says third-year doctoral student Theresa DiVago. “I gained a greater understanding of community and family.”

She wasn’t alone. “I have a heightened awareness of the importance of hearing each client’s story, knowing that it may be greatly different from what my experience has taught me,” says Vanya Sandberg, also a third-year student.

Their responses were just what SPU’s School of Psychology, Family and Community had hoped for. The immersion experience, says Thoburn, is designed to develop graduate students of both competence and character. “To me, that’s the heart of what we’re trying to do,” he says.

The School plans to expand the overseas immersion program to six locations, with India, Ireland and Kenya as potential sites. In all cases, the overseas experiences directly impact the work of doctoral students. Says Thoburn, “In essence, every encounter between a therapist and a client is a multicultural experience, because each of us is unique.”

Back to the top
Back to Campus

From the President
“What is a college education really worth?” asks President Philip Eaton. With universities under scrutiny today, SPU must reflect about its influence and impact.

Closing the Gap
In the final year of The Campaign for SPU, the University has strong momentum heading into the stretch. [Campaign]

Fighting for Family
The U.S. Marines asked Les and Leslie Parrott for help to strengthen the home life of soldiers returning from long Iraq deployments. [Faculty]

Creativity Takes Flight
Theatre graduate Sam Vance '96 is a man with the kind of vision needed by the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington. [Alumni]

Basketball Down Under
The men's basketball team took a journey to the other side of the world, and Assistant Coach Dan Barfoot shares his journal of the trip. [Athletics]

My Response
“Dear Time Capsule Openers,” wrote Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Bruce Congdon to SPU students, faculty and alumni in 2053. His letter is now in a time capsule in SPU's new Science Building.