A group of five SUNY Cobleskill Applied Psychology students are traveling to the Dominican Republic in January for an on-the-ground study of psychological resiliency — in other words, how those who deal with stress and tragedy daily can still see the glass as half-full.
The trip, part of a 300-level Psychology course, will give students an opportunity to explore how resiliency functions and how certain components, which they’ve studied in theory and research, can be strengthened through practice.
“Resiliency used to be considered something that you are either born with or born without,” said Professor of Early Childhood and Psychology Amy Corbett, who will lead the trip. “But new research has shown a much more positive side, which allows for learning and change for those who may not be as resilient as they would like to be.”
From January 5 through January 14, students will visit a handful of groups that work with struggling populations in the Dominican Republic. They’ll start with MUDHA, The Dominico-Haitian Women’s Movement, which focuses on minimizing the stigma on people of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic, especially women and children. The SUNY Cobleskill students will bring a year’s worth of supplies to the school that MUDHA operates.
At REVASA, a human rights agency that focuses on LGBT issues in the Dominican Republic, students will learn about the challenges of being LBGTQ in the very traditional and male-centered Dominican culture.
They’ll visit the DREAM project, an NGO that focuses on at-risk adolescents in the Dominican Republic, where they’ll learn what it means to survive and be successful growing up in a difficult environment.
Their final stop will be Accion Callajera, a small NGO that works with children who live on the streets.
Professor Corbett aims to offer a course like this each January to give Applied Psychology students an opportunity to gain some international experience in their field.