Uncovering art, culture in Rome experience

The study abroad program in Rome offers artistic opportunities for students.

Students studying within the Temple Rome program, which ended on April 23, have been slowly trickling back into the United States. While a majority of the 200-plus students in the program will call Temple their alma mater, students from Penn State, Fordham and Boston universities all shared the experience of Italian culture and Italian arts for the better part of the past four months.

Temple Rome gives the experience of connecting classroom activities with the Italian city and culture in which the students find themselves trying to assimilate to for the semester. From Italian language courses to history, art and business classes, connections between American, Italian and global cultures are addressed and put into perspective.

As Rome has been a city of art and architecture, emphasized during its visit by travelers of the Grand Tour in the 1700s, art and art history students of Temple Rome in particular said they found the opportunity to study their interests abroad in the city one of the most groundbreaking moments of their lives.

The campus offered dozens of sculpture, drawing, painting, photography and printmaking courses with advanced placement for students with art concentrations and beginner courses to encourage non-art students to branch out and try something new.

Megan Bogert, a junior sculpture major, has fond memories of her experience, which is reflected in her work that was shown in the student art show at the end of the program.

“As far as studying sculpture as my major while being abroad words cannot describe,” Bogert said. “I was able to directly relate almost every statue that I saw to my figure modeling class. Since the human anatomy is the hardest to sculpt and work with, having so much at my finger tips to be able to study and learn from was a blessing. It also made me truly appreciate all of the work and study that came before me in seeing such great masters’ work.”

Bogert, along with other Tyler School of Art students, admitted to finding inspiration for their future bachelor of fine arts shows through their study abroad experience.

Students who found themselves in the art history track at Temple could not compare their experience in Rome with past classes on Main Campus. While the Main Campus classes encourage seeing objects in their study through museum visits, the Rome campus allowed its students to travel to the buildings and interact with the landscape where these objects were found.

Mary Jachetti, a junior art history and anthropology major, helped excavate an Italian villa with professor Jan Gadeyne in the summer. She returned to Italy with the Temple Rome program.

“Seeing and learning in-person finally made everything fall into place,” Jachetti said. “I fell more in love with art and culture the more I got exposed to it.”

But the art and art history students were not the only ones who had the opportunity to experience the arts of the city. Students enrolled in the anthropology course, Popular Culture in Italy, were encouraged to explore the city with the creation of their own ethnographies.

The class trip required of students in the course was to attend an Italian punk-rock concert. The advanced Italian language classes had their students go to plays and operas in Rome, performed in Italian. Many other classes had class trips to other parts of Italy including Milan, Florence and Siena.

The study abroad experience may not be one for everyone, but the cultural and artistic exposure students were subjected to made the Temple Rome program a life-altering experience for many of the students who participated.

Nicole Welk can be reached at nicole.welk@temple.edu.

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