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      SHSP Students Abroad

      Students in the School of Human Service Professions Participate in Research Abroad

      SHSP Students in Amsterdam

      Clinical Psychology, Human Sexuality, Physical Therapy, and Social Work students spent time abroad researching in Amsterdam.

      Graduate students in the School of Human Service Professions (SHSP) spent 10 days immersed in the culture of Amsterdam as part of the school’s year-end international trip. Students and faculty visit Amsterdam every three years as a way to research best practices in each of their perspective disciplines. The faculty that accompanied the students this year were Jennifer Cullen, assistant professor of social work; Robin Dole, professor of physical therapy; Erika Evans-Weaver, assistant clinical professor of human sexuality; and Courtney Slater, assistant professor of clinical psychology.

      Each of the different units created a course around the trip that would allow students to do research while in Amsterdam, so that they could apply and compare insights from best practices in the United States.

      This year Widener students visited the University of Amsterdam Medical Center. Students in the Center for Human Sexuality Studies had the opportunity to present interdisciplinary research in human sexuality alongside physicians, psychologists, and social workers.

      “There is a high level of need for care in Amsterdam around clinical sexology,” Lisa Currie, MSEd, a student in the human sexuality program, said. “It’s one of the best places in the world to study sexuality. Our academic experience came from in-country experience itself. Each day we had an opportunity to reflect in person after trying new things and gaining a better understanding of the viewpoints of international researchers.”

      One of the most insightful aspects for Currie, who is the director of health and wellness promotion at Northwestern University, was learning how valued sexuality education is for youth and adults in the Netherlands. “There are a lot of areas that the U.S. can improve in, so it’s helpful for myself and my peers to gain a better understanding of that so we can carry the torch and help lead change in our country.”

      Students in the Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology focused on identity development. “Students researched perspectives on sex work in the United States and Europe over the course of the spring semester,” Courtney Slater, assistant professor of clinical psychology, said. “While in Amsterdam, they had a chance to do on the ground research, and wrote a research paper on their findings.”

      All of the students also attended the European Congress on Andropause and Menopause, a research conference on healthy aging and sexuality.

      “It was great to have access to thought leaders and to have these experiences in such a different setting, though it’s similar to the United States it’s important to be exposed to a variety of viewpoints,” Currie said.

      A highlight for Currie who is interested in reproductive justice was learning about the healthcare issues that they face in the Netherlands. “They take a much more pragmatic approach. It’s very helpful to be able to compare and contrast.”

      She also felt the knowledge exchange was really meaningful from attending the conference to sitting in on the presentations at the university and with local service providers.


      Learn more about the School of Human Service Professions and student study abroad opportunities.


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