Penfield College Counseling Students Participate in Fifth Annual Study Abroad Experience in Holland, France


ATLANTA – Mercer University's Penfield College and the Department of Counseling and Human Sciences, in conjunction with the Center for the Study of Narrative, recently completed a fifth annual study abroad experience in Leiden, Holland and Paris, France.

Dr. Don Redmond, associate professor of counseling, and Dr. Sabrina Walthall, associate professor of biology, led 11 master's and doctoral counseling students on the trip, designed to serve working graduate students who are first-time international travelers.

“This trip provides students with such dynamic learning experiences that no one leaves feeling the same way. Students always talk about how the trip has opened their eyes and increased their desire to travel and see the world. I believe it is one way we are developing future leaders that will be responsible global citizens of tomorrow,” said Dr. Walthall.

Participating students are enrolled in a narrative theory course focusing on a cross-section of disciplines, including narrative therapy, literary studies, narrative art, sociology and ethnology. More specifically, students examine the turn toward narrative within contemporary social sciences, the way contemporary counseling employs narrative concepts and research approaches as tools by which to understand human behavior, and ways in which personal identity is negotiated and constructed through story. 

In addition to pre-departure coursework in Atlanta, participants toured the M.C. Escher Museum in The Hague, the National Museum of Ethnology in Leiden, the Vincent van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam, and the Louvre in Paris. Students also participated in an interactive seminar with Stichting Counselling Nederland.

“Although the primary goal of our narrative theory course is to increase research-based knowledge, I continue to be inspired by the personal transformation evident when students travel abroad and find new versions of themselves,” said Dr. Redmond.

The study abroad experience was funded in part by the Georgia Compassion Project, which provided a generous grant to launch the Center for the Study of Narrative in the spring of 2014.

The interdisciplinary center, housed within Penfield College, calls upon communication, psychology, sociology, human services, literary studies and writing, and historical studies to study the lives of individuals and cultures, giving students practical education while promoting community outreach and service.

About Penfield College of Mercer University

Penfield College of Mercer University, established as the College of Continuing and Professional Studies in 2003, is committed to serving non-traditional learners and currently enrolls more than 1,300 students. Undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs are offered to working adult learners seeking professional advancement into leadership roles in and beyond their communities. Educational programs provide students with distinctive, multidisciplinary programs that integrate theory and practice. The College offers general education and elective courses for various colleges and schools at Mercer. Another initiative called the Bridge program transitions students enrolled in Mercer's English Language Institute and other international students to undergraduate programs throughout the University. Areas of study include organizational leadership, counseling, human services, human resources, informatics, criminal justice leadership, nursing preparation, liberal studies, psychology, communication, homeland security and emergency management, and healthcare leadership. Programs are offered on Mercer's campuses in Atlanta and Macon, as well as multiple regional academic centers in Douglas County, Henry County and Newnan, and online. To learn more, visit