Posted May 22, 2024

‘It’s never too late’: Temple offers adult study abroad in Rome

Temple University’s Adult Study Abroad program offers a six-week fall session in September–October and a 30-day spring session in May–June to study Italian history, arts, architecture, language and culture in Rome. Temple’s program is also open to non-alumni adults. 

 Image of Temple’s adult study abroad program cohort at the Colosseum in Rome.
Photography By: 
Courtesy of Temple University Rome
Temple Rome’s Adult Study Abroad offers an introductory level of Roman history from the Etruscan through the Baroque periods and the founding of the ancient city in the eighth century BC to circa 1700. The program also introduces students to the basics of the Italian language required for communicating effectively in everyday life.

Have you ever looked back at your college experience and wished you had studied abroad? Thanks to Temple University’s Adult Study Abroad, it’s not too late. 

The program, established in 2019, offers a unique opportunity for adults to study in Rome. And Temple is the only university in the country to offer such a program.  

“While many American universities conduct travel programs for their alumni, as far as we know Temple is currently the only university in the United States to offer a dedicated, long-term study abroad program for adult learners,” said A.J. Fitzgerald, Temple’s adult study abroad coordinator.   

“We’ve got a big range of ages: Our youngest participant was 23 years old and our oldest was 84 years old,” he added. “Our professors live in Rome and have deep roots in the city where they show a side of the city that a visiting professor just simply cannot.” 

All courses are taught by members of the Temple Rome faculty and instruction takes place both in the classroom and at cultural sites throughout Italy. The fall 2023 cohort got to visit the Portella della Ginestra in Sicily, a memorial to a 1947 massacre of farmworkers who were celebrating Labor Day amidst calls for new agrarian reforms. (Photography courtesy of A.J. Fitzgerald) 

The program offers a 30-day spring session from May to June and a six-week fall session from September to October, and classes are held every Monday through Thursday.  

The first track, Roma Antica, offers courses on pre-Roman societies, the ancient Roman Empire, and the Renaissance and Baroque periods of artists. The second track, Roma Moderna, covers modern Italian history from the 1860s (the unification of Italy) to the present, covering the world wars and fascism. The program also offers Italian language and culture classes that includes native speakers who attend Italian universities. 

“Our classes are not textbook heavy, so our film seminar allows people to engage without being expected to do a lot of homework outside of the classroom,” said Fitzgerald.  

Participants also take part in wine-tasting and cooking classes and learn about Italian art and architecture from local artists. On select Fridays, students go on day trips, including the Sabine Hills and Tivoli, known for Emperor Hadrian’s architectural villa. Additionally, the program offers two optional weekend excursions to the Bay of Naples and Palermo.  

“They visit Pompeii, Naples and the ancient Greek colony of Cuma, which in some ways represents the dolce vita (sweet life) side of Italy.” Fitzgerald said. “On the contrary, a visit to Palermo offers a very different view of modern Italy where one of our professors teaches students about the city’s anti-mafia resistance movements.”   

“The two trips provide participants with distinct perspectives of Italy to further immerse themselves in Italian arts, culture, history and language,” he added.    

The fall cohort of Temple’s Adult Study Abroad program stayed at a cliffside hotel in Sant’Agnello with a terrace where they enjoyed drinking spritzes. (Photography courtesy of Temple University Rome) 

Sidney Braman, MED ’67, returned to the university with his wife to join the study abroad program both in the spring of 2022 and the fall of 2023. 

“You are living life in a foreign country and learning from unbelievable professors who have retained a wealth of knowledge on Rome’s history,” said Braman, professor of medicine emeritus at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York.  

“Temple Rome gave my wife Judi and I the opportunity to live in a foreign country as inhabitants of that country.”  

He valued learning about Rome from the late 1800s to the present. His cohort watched how the Italian film industry developed from the early 1900s through the modern times. He enjoyed that the professors taught the Italian language courses beyond the classroom. 

“I love that for many of the classes, we would meet with a professor at the Colosseum, a museum or a gelato shop,” he added. 

Temple Rome’s activities for adult students have included an Italian jazz night at the Roman Colosseum, wine tasting with a professional sommelier and an Italian cooking class in a professional kitchen. (Photography courtesy of Temple University Rome) 

Cecilia Capuzzi Simon, KLN ’84, attended the program in the spring of 2023. Her grandparents had immigrated from Italy to the U.S. and getting an education in Rome piqued her interest.  

“Having our first class at the Colosseum and having access to walk at the very places where the history was taking place was really exciting,” said Simon, who received her master’s in journalism from Temple.  

“It was a good way to spend time with other adults from all ages and different backgrounds, who are energized, adventurous and have the desire to learn. 

“I became good friends with others in the cohort, who I continue to keep in touch with,” she added. 

As a first-generation Temple student, Marilyn May, CLA ’76, LAW ’79, was interested in studying abroad but could not afford it as an undergraduate. Decades later, as an adult, she became a part of the program’s fall 2023 cohort.  

“I finally got to do something I wanted to do 50 years ago,” she said. “It was fascinating to be introduced to different neighborhoods outside the usual tourist spots. We went to different art studios and met the goldsmith who designed a ring for Pope Benedict XVI.”  

Her cohort walked around their Italian culture professor’s neighborhood; exploring stores; going on a scavenger hunt; and learning how to make tiramisù, handmade pasta and cappuccino designs. 

“It was great to be a student again in this magical city and learn about Italian history, art, architecture and culture while eating delicious food and drinking wonderful wine,” she said. “What’s not to love? It’s never too late to be a student again.”  

To apply for Temple University’s Adult Study Abroad program visit Temple’s program is also available for non-alumni adults.