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Study Tour of Roman History and Archaeology
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Rachael Knodel

Rachael Knodel

Major: Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies & Anthropology
Hometown: North Royalton, Ohio

How did you learn about this opportunity?

The Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies (CAMS) Department does a really awesome job advertising the study abroad experiences they offer. Dr. Mark Munn visited a number of my classes in the fall semester and I knew during that this was an opportunity I wanted to pursue. I also went to the Penn State education abroad fair to learn more about this program and others offered through the CAMS department.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I spent 17 days in Italy. Most of that time was in Rome, though we got to go to Sorrento, Naples, Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Paestum as well. Every day we would meet in the lobby of the hotel and walk to the day's destination. The professors, Mary Lou Munn and Pamela Cole, would point out interesting things along the way and then "lecture" once we got to the site. We had daily readings that really helped visualize some of the less preserved ruins and also helped us understand the importance of the sites. The students had to complete a site report for every 3 credits they took so everyone got a chance to look into something in depth that they were particularly interested in. I choose the gladiatorial games and found out so much information I never knew before. This trip was incredibly amazing, especially as a CAMS major.

"...this study abroad program will help my resume stand out when I apply for grad school."

How did this experience impact you academically?

Before this trip I had already completed my CAMS major, so the three credits I earned are not directly helping my graduation requirements. However, the experience of being in Rome and seeing the ancient monuments that I've studied for the last three years in person is an irreplaceable experience. I know that the experiences I had in this program will be meaningful for me in my future.

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

After graduating in Spring 2016, I want to stay at Penn State an extra year and complete the Ancient Languages Certificate. After that, I want to go to graduate school and earn my PhD so that I can one day become a professor. This experience will be helpful for two main reasons. First, this study abroad program will help my resume stand out when I apply for grad school. Second, I was able to build a close relationship with my professors which is hard to do in a normal classroom setting.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would recommend this trip in a heartbeat, especially if a student has a particular interest in the classics. Rome is a beautiful city and has an incredibly rich history. Besides that, though, the students who participate in this program become incredibly close and it's a great opportunity to meet new people and explore a new place.

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