Studying abroad has been a huge transition for a lot of students. We’re in a different country, at a different school, and are surrounded by different people. Temple Rome has done a fantastic job of making the switch from America to Italy easier on all of us by offering various immersion activities over the course of the semester.
When we first arrived in late August and everything was still very new, Temple’s week-long orientation made studying abroad seem significantly less scary. There was a pizza party the first night we were here, an orientation meeting and lunch the following day, and walking tours, cooking lessons, discussions, and speeches the rest of the week. This first week was full of opportunities to make new friends, meet professors, and expose ourselves to the city of Rome and Italian culture.
The cultural immersion events at Temple Rome continue throughout the semester. Professor Gadeyne took interested students on a twelve mile trek around the ancient Aurelian Walls in early September. It was hot and everyone was sore and tired by 4:00, but everyone who went on the infamous Wall Walk got to know Rome in a way many people don’t. I mean, we did walk around the entire perimeter of the ancient city …
A few weeks later, Gianni Marangio and other Temple Rome staff members assembled a group of native Romans to answer students’ questions about life in Italy. The Round Table with Italians was a great chance to meet locals and practice our Italian language skills. After being here for about a month, it was nice to have Italian people discuss their own cultural idiosyncrasies, and the Temple students were able to put some American customs in perspective for the speakers as well.
Temple Rome also hosted a wine tasting night in October. Most of us had been drinking wine regularly by this time, but had no idea what went into producing a bottle of wine. We were given a lesson in the manufacturing process of wine and then taught how to properly taste and drink it. Now I feel like a connoisseur whenever I sniff my drink and swirl it around in my fancy Temple Rome wine glass, and I have the wine tasting night to thank for that.
There was also a salsa dancing night at school a couple of weeks ago. Students who signed up were able to learn how to salsa from a professional and then practice their new skills on each other. Everyone was forced out of their comfort zone and all of the participants left salsa night knowing how to dance at least a little bit better than before.
This past Sunday, a group of Temple students went to the Roma vs. Palermo soccer game at the Olympic Stadium. Obtaining tickets to a soccer game can be a bit of a project in Italy because you need your passport and have to physically go to the stadium to purchase tickets etc., so it was nice to have Temple’s help with the process and then be able to watch the game with a big group of classmates and friends. The fact that Roma beat visiting Palermo made the soccer game that much more fun!
Temple Rome runs a myriad of events throughout the semester to help students become familiar with each other, their professors, and Italian culture. I would highly recommend that students studying at Temple Rome in the future take advantage of as many school-run activities as possible. I’ve never heard anyone say they regret spending time at any of the affairs the school offers: they’re fun and relevant to the study abroad experience.