Adult Study Abroad: The new program unlocking the Eternal City

Travelling abroad is a fantastic way to expose yourself to new cultures, learn new languages and learn a lot more about yourself.

Adult Study Abroad: The new program unlocking the Eternal City
Rome wasn't built in a day – Adult Study Abroad participants find millennia of history to explore. Photo: Lisa H. Beckman

It just so happens that you can. Together with Temple University Rome, we investigate changes in travel trends, and how that means you can now experience one of the world’s greatest cities through Temple’s exciting and innovative program.

Back to school

After years of interrupted travel due to the coronavirus pandemic, increasing numbers of travellers are ditching short, luxury destinations in favour of more immersive, authentic experiences. Through lockdown, many travellers have discovered that time is perhaps their most valuable currency, and as a result, seek meaningful experiences when they travel abroad. 

Simultaneously, facing declining student numbers due to several complex geopolitical factors, universities across much of the world are seeking new ways of bringing in students by expanding their offerings. 

In one response to this new reality Temple University Rome has developed an innovative and exciting program that combines learning with authentic travel experience. 

Adult Study Abroad in Rome is an exciting new way to experience a world-class destination 

Do as the Romans do 

Anyone who wants to understand the world as it is needs to visit Rome. Once the capital of a mighty empire, still the seat of one of the world’s great faiths, and a treasure house of art, music and architecture, Rome has always played a key role in world affairs. 

To help curious adult students understand this, Temple University’s campus in Rome has developed an exciting six-week program that takes them on a tour through over two millennia of Roman life. 

From Monday to Thursday, students take part in a number of classes, taught by Temple’s faculty, involving many opportunities to practise language skills and newly acquired cultural knowledge. These core classes include Italian Language & Culture and Highlights of Rome, a comprehensive overview of the city’s wealth of art history. These are interspersed with regular museum visits, where students are guided by knowledgeable and passionate academics. 

Students in the next cohort can choose to attend a range of optional short courses, with possible focuses ranging from an overview of Rome’s Artists & Artisans to an examination of Migration & Identity in the context of the contemporary city. Classes for these short courses often meet at iconic locations, meaning that students soon learn how to navigate around the city, becoming true ‘Romans’ in the process. Day trips may also take students on a tour through the nearby town of Tivoli’s historic sights. 

While weekends are free for participants to explore Rome, from the Spanish Steps to the Via Appia, there is the option of an excursion to famous Italian destinations across southern Italy including Naples, the preserved Roman city of Pompeii and romantic Sorrento. 

Explore Rome with experts who understand each church, cafe and winding laneway

Do as the Romans do: Adult Study Abroad participants follow in the steps of Caesar and other Roman emperors. Photo: Lisa H. Beckman

The word from the street 

Feedback from the most recent cohort of Temple University Rome’s Adult Study Abroad program reinforces what the research conducted by academics shows – that this growing trend of adult study abroad programs promotes fulfilment and growth for those taking part. 

Of his experience in this year’s spring program, Sidney Braman says: “Knowing what I know, I’d love to do it again and again and again. This is a very, very different experience from anything we’ve done in our travels. 

“You’re going to be living as a Roman, finding out how to get around. On top of that, you have the whole Temple faculty guiding you.” 

Fellow participant Ashley Giacomelli echoed Sidney’s sentiments: “For anyone considering this program – book it!

“I think it’s amazing coming on your own, as something that allows and enables self-growth. My only regret is that I didn’t apply sooner.”

Sign up for the Temple University Rome mailing list to learn more about the Adult Study Abroad program

Susan Cohen, a Temple University alumna who returned to participate in the inaugural program, was also very enthusiastic about her experience: 

“This is the perfect program for someone who is intellectually curious, open to new experiences, or is eager to discover new ways of learning and looking at the world.

“We walked through the city—through what we were studying, immersed in the culture, and learned enough Italian to feel like we belonged. I also had many opportunities to do things that I don’t normally do.

“This program gives you a different angle based on what you already know. It helps you expand your world. And it’s a different perspective studying as an adult. I hope to see this program expanded.”

To learn more about how adult study abroad programs work, and to discover how Temple University immerses program participants in the very fabric of Rome, you can watch a replay of their recent webinar. In it, you’ll hear from program staff and former participants about this opportunity of a lifetime. 

You may have visited Rome but have you truly lived it? Make an inquiry about joining the Temple Rome Adult Study Abroad program in 2023.


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Rome archaeologists continue search for start of Appian Way

An excavation team in Rome is trying to unearth the first, oldest section of the Appian Way, the Roman Empire's most strategic highway, which may soon become a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Rome archaeologists continue search for start of Appian Way

A paved road of more than 500 kilometres (310 miles) begun in 312 BC by Roman statesman Appius Claudius Caecus, the ‘Via Appia‘ is an archaeological treasure trove, where an ongoing excavation hopes to uncover the actual starting point of the road in Rome.

The artery leading south to the key port of Brindisi at Italy’s heel provided a gateway to the eastern Mediterranean, especially Greece, and was of strategic importance for the armies and merchants of a quickly expanding Rome.

READ ALSO: Treasure trove of ancient Roman statues unearthed in Tuscany

This week, archaeologists showed off progress in their attempt to dig deep enough to unearth the beginning of the road, hidden far beneath Rome’s Baths of Caracalla, built some five centuries after the Appian Way.

“What we see today is the result of an excavation that began in July with the central goal of finding clues to the location of the first section of the Appian Way,” said archaeologist Riccardo Santangeli Valenzani.

The first, earliest section of the road is the one that provides “the most problems regarding the precise and exact location”, the professor at Roma Tre University cautioned.

The Appian Way is a paved road stretching more than 500 kilometres, begun in 312 B.C. by Roman statesman Appius Claudius Caecus. (Photo by FILIPPO MONTEFORTE / AFP)

Construction of the Appian Way required Herculean engineering, from the levelling of the land, building of ditches and canals and surfacing of the road with gravel and heavy stone, to the building of post offices and inns to support the thousands of soldiers and merchants headed southward.

Digging deeper

Wandering today along the Appian Way, where massive blocks of paving stone are still visible in sections, is to take a trip through the past.

Imposing monuments such as the first century BC tomb of a consul’s daughter, Cecilia Metella, sit alongside ancient catacombs and churches, crumbling tombstones of Roman families and leafy villas.

The Appian Way sheds light not only on the Roman Republic and later Roman Empire, but also on life and death in the Middle Ages with its pilgrimage shrines and crypts.

The road also provides a glimpse of modern architectural wonders, such as the sumptuous villas owned by Italy’s rich and famous, including film legend Gina Lollobrigida or former premier Silvio Berlusconi.

Appian Way in Rome

A man walks along Rome’s Appian Way, which might soon become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

Italy, which earlier this month presented its bid for the Appian Way to UNESCO, already has 58 sites recognised as World Heritage Sites, the most of any country.

They include entire historical city centres, such as Rome, Florence and Venice, and archaeological areas such as the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Work to locate the starting point of the Appian Way, believed to be some eight metres below ground, has so far been complicated by groundwater.

Nevertheless, digging in higher strata of ground has unearthed relics from different periods, including a marble bust from the second century AD and an early papal square coin, minted between 690 and 730.

Wandering today along the Appian Way is to take a trip through the past. (Photo by FILIPPO MONTEFORTE / AFP)

Archaeologists have also found fragments of glass and ceramics, mosaic and bits of amphora.

So far, the excavation has reached residential or commercial structures dating back to the time of Emperor Hadrian, who died in 138 AD.

Archaeologist Daniele Manacorda said the current excavation had reached the point of “late ancient Rome, the one that began to live in the ruins of ancient Rome”.

“If we could continue to dig deeper, we would find archaic Rome,” he said.

By AFP’s Kelly Velasquez and Alexandria Sage