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Rome, Italy: Study Tour of Roman History and Archaeology (Summer)
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Olivia K. Torres

Major: English, Spanish, and History
Minor: Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies
Hometown: Mays Landing, NJ

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I always knew that I wanted to study abroad, so when someone came in to speak with my Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies class last year about this opportunity, I immediately began to look further.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

This experience allowed me to get six credits to be applied to my major and minor and also provided me with a once in a lifetime opportunity. Our group, which consisted of two Penn State professors and about a dozen students, would meet each morning at 9:00am in the hotel lobby. The days were simple: on Colosseum day we took the metro to the Colosseum, on Roman Forum day we ventured over to the Roman Forum, and so on. Never before have I gotten to learn about the history of anywhere, let alone an ancient city as famous as Rome, while standing amidst the ruins. This experience painted a picture of history that brought it to life in my mind.

This experience painted a picture of history that brought it to life in my mind.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Education is not just about memorization and examinations. It includes gaining an understanding and comprehension of the subject matter. My minor is in CAMS, but Ancient Rome was never my main focal point. I preferred to learn about the Ancient Near East, but I knew that only focusing on one aspect would not be beneficial to receiving a well-rounded education. This experience allowed me to gain an interest in something new and come home with a wealth of knowledge. I have been able to apply what I have learned to many of my other classes, including history, English, and even Spanish!

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

Completing three majors and one minor in the span of four years is not going to be easy. This experience allowed me to obtain six credits towards both my CAMS minor and my History major. Eventually, I hope to attend law schools and apply my degrees in order to become a successful lawyer that knows how to communicate effectively in multiple languages. Communication comes from comprehension; the ability to understand what came before and to learn from it is priceless. This experience allowed me to immerse myself in Italian culture and closely study Ancient Roman practices of religion and politics, which have laid a foundation for their contemporary counterparts. It has been a valuable addition to my well-rounded education.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes, because education needs to expand beyond the classroom. Liberal Arts students have the opportunity to see the world through new lenses and make a real change. Studying abroad opens so many doors that can allow that to happen.

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

As a Paterno Fellow aspirant, the requirement to take a certain number of honors courses seemed a bit daunting at first. An opportunity to go abroad and get three 400-level credits helped to alleviate some of that pressure. The Paterno Fellows Program inspired me to think beyond the classroom and pursue innovative ways to meet the requirements. I understand that it is up to me to make the most of my education and of my four years at Penn State. This program has allowed me to travel to a country I had never visited before and explore history hands on.

For more information on global opportunities for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.
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