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14th Annual Convention Call for Submissions
Volume 14, Number 9
Student Notebook
November 2001

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Previous Issue
Psychological Scientists in the Private Sector

Passport to a Global Education

What does it take to be an international graduate student? Well, the first thing you'll need is your passport ... I had just finished my Bachelor of Science in Psychology at the University of Washington in Seattle and was ready for the next phase in my life- but the big question was: "What was that phase to be?" Was it time to travel? Get a job? Study more? I was torn between my passionate, carefree and adventurous side-wanting to travel and experience life through a culture and people different than my own- and my logical, planning and career driven side-wanting to pursue graduate school and attain my career goals of becoming an academic! How could I integrate these two desires so that "both" of me would be happy? It dawned on me that I did not have to choose one option or the other, I could do both...graduate school abroad. I had spent a quarter of my senior year in college studying at an overseas institution, and while I found the experience to be both enriching and educational, my time away (3 months) only scratched the surface of the potential life experiences that I believed were waiting to be unleashed with a prolonged stay.

I set out to investigate overseas graduate opportunities in English speaking countries in my field of interest, cognitive psychology. My search took me to Wellington, New Zealand where I now study under Dr Maryanne Garry, who is best known for her work on adult memory distortions, especially those that occur as a result of imagination.

While studying abroad can be an extremely rewarding venture, there are certain things that you should know before deciding to pack up and head out. Based on my experiences as an overseas graduate student, I have highlighted what I believe to be the crucial steps and some important considerations when deciding on pursuing a future of overseas study.

Your first assignment (beside ensuring that your passport is valid and updated) and perhaps one of the most important research projects that you'll undertake in your graduate student career is to find out:

  • Who works in your area of interest
  • The personalities and working styles of your future advisoral candidates


  • do his/her research interests match yours
  • how does he/she operate
  • what are his/her philosophies of psychology
  • does his/her working style fit with yours


  • reading research published by the advisor you are investigating
  • talking to as many people as you can who may know the advisor or at least know about him/her
  • looking up the candidate's Web site (usually through a link on the university's home page)

These seven steps, of course, are the very same ones you'd follow even if you weren't thinking of studying in another country. Once you know some background information, you are ready to establish email contact with the potential advisor and introduce yourself and your research interests. The exchange you have with the potential advisor and the information they provide you with can be the deciding factor in whether you end up pursuing that specific school and that research area.

Once you've established that you and your potential advisor's research areas and working styles match, your next step is finding out about immigration policies of the specific country you are investigating.


  • the school's policies on international students and the tuition for overseas students
  • what type of financial support (if any) does the school offer its graduate students
  • whether you are allowed to work in the country with a student visa
  • if you have any US dollars, how far will they go in your new country? Check the exchange rate

    Some of this information will no doubt be outlined in the school's prospectus which is obtainable through their enrolment office.

  • Does the US government's student loan plan support the particular school that you are investigating?

    This information is available through your local student loan office. If the school you are interested in is on the list, you are eligible for student loans from the US government and will be able to financially support yourself.

  • Does the school have graduate student accommodation? If not, what are some other living options that will allow you to meet people when you first arrive?

Finally, you will need to consider the reality that being in a different country also means that a lot of major conferences in your field still do take place in North America or in Europe. You will need to investigate your potential school's funding mechanisms for conferences, as most do have some funds put aside for this very purpose. Also, you may want to find out what types of conferences take place around your potential country. I would like to stress here that as the 2001-2001 travel award and volunteer coordinator for APSSC, I am committed to increasing the international student affiliation with our organisation by giving priority to those people who travel from far distances to attend the APS convention.

My study abroad experience has helped shape and strengthen some of my life philosophies: in education, in politics, in general lifestyle choices, I have broadened my perspectives and seen the world through another angle. Living and studying abroad has given me a well-rounded education that I could not have obtained from even the most comprehensive and heavily resourced universities in the US.

Call for Presentations, Reviewers

The APSSC offers two opportunities for APS student affiliates who conduct research addressing concerns of socially and economically underrepresented populations (RiSE-UP), to contribute to their field. First, all student members who present their research at the 14th Annual APS Convention in New Orleans (June 6-9, 2002) are eligible to win one of three distinguished RiSE-UP awards of $250. All winners will be invited to present their work at the RiSE-UP Symposium being held during the convention. In order to be considered for this competition, students must complete the online Convention submission form by January 11, 2002. Second, student affiliates who are actively involved in this area of research are eligible to become reviewers for the aforementioned competition. Both of these great opportunities allow students to strengthen research competencies and to contribute knowledge to a valuable area of psychological research. For questions related to these opportunities, please contact the RiSE-UP Advocate, Charu Thakral, at cthakra@luc.edu. For students interested in serving as reviewers for the RiSE-UP competition, please send a curriculum vita, a brief letter of interest, and contact information to the address below by December 30, 2001:

Charu Thakral
Attn: RiSE-UP Reviewers
Loyola University Chicago
Mallinckrodt Campus
1041 Ridge Road
Wilmette, IL 60091

Grant Program, Research Competition

CALL FOR PROPOSALS APSSC Student Grant Program. In an effort to support student research in psychology, the APSSC provides a funding source for APS student affiliates to conduct research that currently is in its initial development. The APSSC Student Grant Program offers partial financial support for various research expenses (e.g., the purchase of research materials) prior to data collection. Up to three awards ($250 each) will be available to graduate student affiliates and up to two awards ($100 each) will be available to undergraduate student affiliates. Research proposals in all areas of psychological science are welcome. Each research proposal will be evaluated by peers on the clarity in the presentation of ideas, the ability of the project to explain some psychological phenomenon, and the ability of the project to advance research in a specified area.

To have your research proposal considered for the APSSC Student Grant Program, submit the following information:

Cover Letter

Complete a cover letter including your name, current mailing address, telephone number, and e-mail address, your area of research, your APS membership number (found on the mailing label of your Observer or by contacting the APS office), and the full name(s) of other(s) involved in the project.

Project Summary
Complete a typewritten (double-spaced, no more than 10 pages) project summary detailing the purpose and methodology of the proposed project. This summary should include the research project's title (without author's name) at the top of each page and sections addressing: 1) a summary of previous related research, specific justification for the current project, and a clearly stated hypothesis; 2) the proposed methodology; 3) the possible theoretical implications of the research.

Review Board Approval
Send verification that the research has been approved by either the Human Subjects Review Board or by the Animal Subjects Review Board (as applicable).

Send the above materials, including a total of four copies of the project summary, to the address below:

Christopher Anderson
University of Albany, SUNY
Social Sciences 112
Albany, NY 12222

All materials must be postmarked by Friday, March 29, 2002, in order to be considered for this year's Student Grant Program. For additional contact Christopher Anderson at ca4809@csc.albany.edu.

Copyright © 2001 American Psychological Society. All Rights Reserved.