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Fulbright and John Carroll University co-develop Multicultural Psychology course

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This summer, Fulbright University Vietnam introduced a new course in Psychology. Entitled Multicultural Psychology, it is collaboratively developed by the Psychology faculty of Fulbright and the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program of John Carroll University, USA.

The integration of Theory and Practice

Multicultural Psychology focuses on theories and models of multicultural psychology, cultural identity development, and social justice. Co-designed by the faculty in both universities, the course helps students gain an in-depth understanding of how culture, attitudes, beliefs, and experiences influence personal perception.

In the first half of the course, students studied at their home universities. Then, six master’s students from John Carroll University traveled to Vietnam in mid-June to join Fulbright students for two weeks of collaborative learning.

Besides in-class activities, the students also enjoyed:

  • Embarking on field trips to two psychological counseling companies in Ho Chi Minh City
  • Joining psychology experts in in-depth panel discussions
  • Presenting as workshop speakers at the International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors (IAMFC) Conference on the theme “Bridging Cultures: Vietnamese and American Family Dynamics.”

Multicultural knowledge and experience – Key to developing psychological skills in a globalized context

“In Psychology, students not only learn from theoretical models but also gain valuable insights from practical experiences in multicultural environments,” shared Dr. Nathan Gehlert, Psychology faculty member at Fulbright.

As humans, we often have our own prejudices and biases when encountering different environments and cultures. Therefore, students need to learn how to enhance their skills in identifying and addressing barriers, prejudices, and discrimination as they support diverse client groups.

Throughout the course, students can share personal experiences and learn from various cultures, developing effective client support skills for their future psychology careers.

“During the course, I felt no boundaries or gaps between students from different countries. We learned together, shared difficulties, and were always willing to help each other. Distance doesn’t matter when we share a common goal and are open to learning from diversity,” reflected Quỳnh Phương, a Class of 2025 student.

Throughout the Multicultural Psychology course, students can share personal experiences and learn from various cultures, developing effective client support skills for their future psychology careers.

Throughout the course, students can share personal experiences and learn from various cultures, developing effective client support skills for their future psychology careers.

A culmination experience at IAMFC conference

During their two weeks of in-person gathering in Vietnam, students from two universities were divided into groups to present on “Bridging Cultures: Vietnamese and American Family Dynamics” at the IAMFC conference. They had the opportunity to share and exchange perspectives, experiences, and cultural insights from both countries, adapting psychological theories and practices to multicultural contexts.

“Working towards the presentation, I realized there are many similarities between American and Vietnamese students in communication, growing up, and maintaining family cultural values,” shared Angelina Wright, a master’s student at John Carroll University.

The students from both universities embarked on diverse topics:

  • Post-divorce challenges for parents and children;
  • Gender roles and expectations within the family unit;
  • Comparing intergenerational relationships;
  • Parenting styles and practices in sex education;
  • Texting applications & family dynamics across cultures;
  • Communication patterns and conflict resolution.

Quỳnh Phương and her members believe that communication helps overcome differences and barriers between countries. “Misunderstanding between parents and children is a common issue in many families. Despite cultural differences, parents love and want to protect their children. Therefore, communication is key to sharing, understanding, and empathizing with each other,” Quỳnh Phương shared.

Văn Tâm, a Class of 2025 student, and his group presented on parenting styles and practices in sex education. “Sex education is an important issue that many parents have not given enough attention to. Through the presentation, we want to emphasize this topic in research and practice across cultures,” Văn Tâm emphasized.

The Multicultural Psychology course marks the collaboration between Fulbright University Vietnam and John Carroll University. In the future, the two universities will continue to promote student exchange initiatives to enhance intercultural learning.

Thanh Mai

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