The eternal city of Rome, Vatican City, Florence, and Pompeii, Italy, were the outside-the-classroom settings where students studied abroad this summer. Taught by two Dyson professors and professors from the University of Rome, “La Sapienza,” this travel course was the first to take place under a new collaboration between Pace and the Italian university that offers each institution’s students, and faculty, the opportunity to experience learning in an international setting.
I learned so much more than I ever would have here in the United States about the history and culture of Italy.
-- Heather O’Shea
As learning can come alive in no better way than through first-hand visits to the cathedrals and ancient ruins of Italy, students compared and contrasted ancient Roman culture with the Rome of today. “Civic engagement was an important component in ancient Roman civilization, just as it is in today’s society, and is one of the core values of an education at Pace,” explains Professor Brown.
Students gain an international perspective
“This travel course offered much more than the lectures, readings, and writings of traditional coursework,” says Professor Lawrence Hundersmarck. In an incomparable learning experience, students gained insights of Italian educators as well as Pace professors. Coursework included the study of the beginnings of Christianity and the classical history of Rome, led respectively by Professors Hundersmarck and Brown, both of the philosophy and religious studies department, and the study of contemporary Italian society and culture led by several Italian professors.
Students were treated to a lively discussion led by Pace President Caputo, who spoke about the current political environment in Italy, and his experiences there as a Fulbright scholar. Associate Provost Beverly Kahn, who facilitated the coordination of this course through important connections with the officials at La Sapienza, led informative tours of the city and also advised the group about the best places to eat Italian food.
Academically, students work harder. “Students are motivated—their work is a bit more inspired in travel courses like this,” says Brown. “I learned so much more than I ever would have here in the United States about the history and culture of Italy,” says Heather O’Shea, a marketing and management major on the New York City campus.
Not just an opportunity to study in a foreign country, students also gained a growth experience. “I learned a lot about myself and relationships. I didn’t expect to get close with other students, but we all developed friendships and really bonded. It was a life changing event,” says O’Shea.
This study abroad travel course to Italy will be offered yearly, and students who participated in this course have been asked for their suggestions on ways to enhance the experience. For more information about study abroad opportunities, visit the Office of International Programs and Services web site at www.pace.edu/international.