Psychology of Crossing Cultural Borders

Course Description

This course is designed to (a) help students acquire theoretical and empirical literature about the role of culture in human behavior through reading psychological literature from various resources, (b) assist students gain knowledge about cross-cultural transitions, as well as attend to and reflect on their encounters in a cultural context that is different from their native culture, and (c) facilitate students’ integration of personal experiences and knowledge of psychological literature practical implication of working with diverse individuals and in different helping roles.

The course emphasizes the students’ understanding and integration of theory and research findings the relationships between culture and psychology, development of skills to apply the knowledge about the impact of culture on psychology to themselves helping others, and continuous reflection and documentation on their-dimensional cross-cultural experiences.

Course Objectives

  • To enhance students’ learning of the literature related to the role of culture in psychology, cultural transitions, and cross-cultural relationships
  • To help students develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities to increase cross-culturally competencies
  • To facilitate students’ integration of their cross-cultural learning into their identity and career development
  • To help students dissect culturally-embedded messages and practices from different cultural contexts, and to discern the nuances in cross-cultural interactions
  • To promote students’ awareness of their cross-cultural reactions and subsequent coping strategies


2018 Sonia Dhaliwal, Psy.D.

2014-2015 Sonia Dhaliwal, Psy.D., Ching-Lan Lin, M.Ed.

2012-2014 Puncky Heppner, Ph.D., Feihan Li, M.Ed.

2011–2012 Puncky Heppner, Ph.D., Ran Zhao, M.Ed.

2010–2011 Barbara Williamson, Ph.D., Hung Chiao, M.Ed.

2009–2010 Puncky Heppner, Ph.D., Yuhong He, M.Ed.

Fall 2011 Class in the classroom

Fall 2011 Class in the classroom

Exploring Columbia Culture: Corn Maze

Exploring Columbia Culture: Corn Maze

Some important things students learned in the class: 

“The perspectives of balance and respect. The attitude of learning from each other. The working with self-awareness and cultural values”

“To become more self-awareness and consciously experience my cross-cultural process.”

“I learned the role of cultural context in life; how it affects social support, our experiences, our values, and beliefs.”