Penn State Fayette to Offer First Study-Abroad Summer Program in Greece

Aris Karagiorgakis, an Assistant Professor of psychology, at Meteora, Greece, the site of a group of 13th-century Eastern Orthodox monasteries. His Summer 2020 class will visit this stunning UNESCO World Heritage site. IMAGE: ARIS KARAGIORGAKIS

Aris Karagiorgakis, an Assistant Professor of psychology at Penn State Fayette, Eberly Campus, will offer two concurrent study-abroad courses in Athens, Greece during the summer of 2020. The courses will be “Introduction to the Psychology of Religion” (PSYCH 230) and “Cross-Cultural Psychology” (PSYCH 232).

The six-week program, worth six credits, is the first of its kind for the Fayette campus and will be available to all Penn State students. Karagiorgakis recently traveled to Athens to gather and assess educational resources and opportunities for the courses.

“I worked with the Athens Centre to develop an itinerary that will complement the lectures and reading material we’ll explore in the classroom setting,” he said. “I scouted locations and toured with guides to assess the value of each activity to our curriculum. What I don’t include in the program I can personally recommend to students during free time.”

The “Psychology of Religion” course will introduce students to an array of ancient temples, museums and ruins, including the Parthenon, the Oracle of Delphi, and Epidaurus, the best-preserved ancient theater and healing center, known for its perfect acoustics.

The “Cross-Cultural Psychology” course will explore Greek food and drink, environmental attitudes, mental health stigmas, education and science, the economic crisis and more. There will be immersive activities and guest lectures from local scholars as well.

Students from the American College of Greece will also join Penn State students for a common activity and discussion.

Karagiorgakis team-taught the course “The Communication of the Word and the Psychology of Religious Belief” in spring of 2019, which included an embedded trip to Rome, Italy, during spring break.

He serves as the Commonwealth Campus representative for education abroad, connecting Penn State Fayette faculty to institutional resources for international course development.

“My parents are from the island of Crete, and my extended family still lives in Greece,” Karageorgakis said. “I speak the language fluently, and I’m comfortable with the culture and social customs, so I’m looking forward to returning and sharing my experience of my heritage with Penn State students.”

For more information, please contact Asst. Professor Karagiorgakis at [email protected]