Student Writer: Jolene Dreier

Jolene DreierName: Jolene Dreier
Home University: University of Nebraska – Lincoln
Summer Courses at DIS: Livability in the Modern City, Positive Psychology

For a week my class had discussed, examined and explored all aspects of positive psychology. It wasn’t until I got to Scotland, however, that a lot of what we had been studying became comprehensible. Scotland allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of how classroom theories applied to a real world environment.

Our first day was the busiest of them all. As soon as we landed we were headed towards the Edinburgh Castle.  The castle was like nothing I had seen before and really showed me just how much history lays in Scotland. Our tour guide dove into the stories that happen thousands of years ago on the very same streets we were standing on. The city was nothing like Copenhagen, a change to say the very least.

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The days to follow included more personal touring of the city as well as other academic tours. We visited the Playfield Institute, an organization that empowers the workforce to promote emotional health and wellbeing in young people and explored how and why spirituality can be a path towards well being at the Kadampa Buddhist Centre. And while these visits were informative, I found the Random Acts of Kindness activity to be the most rewarding. A theory we had studied, just a week before in class, was now being tested. Our assignment was to prove whether or not money makes you happy.  Groups were given money to be spent anyway they pleased. The only rule was that it had to be used as an act of kindness for someone other than ourselves. It was satisfying to spend the money buying random strangers coffee and giving out bagels to construction workers. The gratitude that came from the activity really showed how the classroom theories applied.

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Overall, the theories that were applied during this study tour were unlike anything I could ever test inside a classroom. Studying Scotland through the perspective of positive psychology made for a meaningful experience. It challenged my current ideas and assumptions and showed me the potential positive psychology can have on any country.

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