MSc Cross-Cultural Psychology at VUW - Interview with Elizabeth Weinberg


i-studentglobal spoke to Elizabeth Weinberg, an American student studying her Master's in Cross-Cultural Psychology in New Zealand, at Victoria University of Wellington about her experience of studying abroad and why she chose VUW and New Zealand as the place to continue her education in psychology. 

1. How did you decide to study in New Zealand and why did you decide to study at VUW?

Why New Zealand? Perhaps the better question is, why not? I knew I wanted to complete a Master's degree and had a bit of traveling and study abroad experience in undergrad.It was during my first study abroad experience that I fell in love with another culture, to be exact, Scotland. I was intrigued with how and why people differed but also saw the commonalities we shared. Beyond this, the country’s customs and historical traditions were new and exciting, and I enjoyed learning about the differences in our political and social climates. I knew from that point on, incorporating culture into my future degree was a must.

So when I started my search, Victoria came up as having a cross-cultural psychology course as well as finding a course in England. After much research, getting in touch with people involved heavily with the programs, Victoria and New Zealand in general, stood out. I had heard about how beautiful and safe and friendly New Zealand was, had never been (why not visit someplace new?), and figured, this is where my life experiences were drawing me. So, I submitted an application, and here I am. So, I chose VUW because, it was one of the few schools to offer such a program that strongly overlapped culture and psychology (two of my passions), but I could also tell by the contacts that I had made, it was a school (and centre) of extremely sound and exciting research, intelligent and capable professors, and would give me opportunities I could not have elsewhere.


Cruising around the Milford Sound, the start of an overnight cruise which came to be one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen in NZ so far. 

2. With so many psychology courses out there, why did you choose Cross-Cultural Psychology?

Why did I choose Cross-Cultural Psychology? I mentioned this a bit in question 1. I did a good amount of international travels during my undergraduate and the more I traveled, the more engrossed and intrigued I became with understanding people through a cultural lens. It is important to note, I did not have much cultural diversity where I grew up. Small town Iowa didn't have this to offer. At some points in my life, it tried its best, but I wasn't fully fulfilled. With my international adventures, I found that so much of human behavior, thought processing, and individual and family practices are formed and shaped by one's cultural context. Much of my undergraduate degree did not bring psychology and culture together. It was a must for me, and I was driven to have the connection in the next chapter of my educational career. I desired to have a greater understanding of this mystery, and this master's program offered me that. I must say, I have not been disappointed.  


My dad and I kayaking in the Abel Tasman. My mom was the lucky one taking the photo.