The following post was written by Steve Stern, a member of the Temple Family Council. Steve is pictured above (right) while visiting his daughter Helen (left) during her semester abroad in Rome.
Disclaimer: I love to travel, my wife loves to travel, and we raised our children as travelers. But being a traveler is not a prerequisite for having your student enjoy a semester abroad! My well-travelled owl, Helen is at the high end of the curve. One of her best owl friends on the Rome program had never been on an airplane before…not to mention overseas. And both of these owls are benefitting from the once in a lifetime opportunity that we give to our students when we help them to spend part of their university experience abroad.
I give Temple University an A+ in making Helen’s experience seamless. From scheduling her classes, obtaining her student visa, getting to her housing, and situating herself in a new city, in a different country, with a new peer group, the Temple team did everything possible to facilitate a smooth transition. When I had questions about the process, my answers came from a person instead of a website. I could not have expected better.
From thousands of miles away (and close up…..my wife and I couldn’t help but use it as an excuse to visit Italy) I am enjoying the pride of watching my daughter grow. She has become a more independent young woman as she has learned to navigate everything from train schedules to gelato flavors. Her artistic side is expanding as she sketches and photographs Rome from the Pantheon to the parks in her neighborhood in walking distance to the Vatican. She has learned to budget her time as well as her money---anything more than a one and a half euros for a cappuccino is an offense…my daughter is no longer a tourist. My daughter feels a close connection to a country and a culture that meant little to her 6 months ago but have now become a new part of how she sees herself.
At the time of this writing, Helen is coming home in 10 days. She is looking forward to getting back to Philly and her parents can’t wait to see her. She is buckling down to write a 4-page paper for an art history class and is cramming for her Italian final. The coursework is rigorous and the setting makes it a truly special experience (I envy her the opportunity to learn photography in a city of medieval churches and ancient ruins). Temple made it easy for her to select her classes for the next semester and she is gearing up for a productive summer.
The takeaway is that my daughter got to see a new and powerful side of herself by stretching her level of independence just a little bit more than she could in Philadelphia. Temple Education Abroad facilitated by offering us a way to have her study overseas with a minimum of confusion by helping navigate bureaucracy. She loved the experience, learned from the challenges of new routines, unfamiliar situations, and a different set of curricular offerings, and grew in our eyes as well as her own eyes. My guess is she would try to sell anyone on studying abroad. I know that I would.
Learn More about Education Abroad and Overseas Campuses here.