2013 Summer Laura Detter Temple Rome Temple Summer

Putting the “study” in study abroad

It became very apparent that I was half way through my time in Rome when I was faced with an Introduction to Risk Management midterm last Thursday. It is so hard to believe that I am already half way done my study abroad semester in Rome and in three weeks I will be departing from something that has already become so familiar.

Before I left Philadelphia I knew I was enrolled in two courses and was traveling to Rome to study, but (in all honesty) I never thought that my classes would impact my time in Rome. I thought that I would learn a bit about art in Rome in The History of Art in Rome and fulfill a business requirement in An Introduction to Risk Management. I never imagined that BOTH of my classes would enhance my experience in Rome and bring more meaning to the culture I am immersed in.

Roman Forum

A view of the Roman Forum from the Capitoline Museums

Every week my art class meets on Tuesday night for a two-hour lecture and on Wednesday morning for a three-hour on-site visit somewhere in Rome. The first week of class, we met at the Pantheon and the Capitoline Museums, and just last week my class met in front of the Colosseum before we visited the basilica of San Clemente and Church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli.


My professor Frank Dabell explaining the history of the Colosseum and the colossal statue of Nero that once stood beside the amphitheater

This week my class visited the beautiful Villa “la Fernesina” in the Travestevere area of Rome.


This Villa served as a private home to Agostine Chigi, who was a rich Sienese banker and the treasurer of Pope Julius II. Chigi was so rich that he was able to hire great painters of the time, like Raphael, to paint frescoes in his private home. When we visited the villa on Wednesday morning, my professor Frank Dabell brought the villa to life by explaining not only the subjects in each piece or art, but also what the works would have meant to the people during the 1500s.

I don’t mean to sound cliché, but learning about the details of these ancient sites brings the city of Rome to life because it adds meaning to the ruins and sites of all centuries and gives me the ability to visualize how ancient Rome would have looked and felt.

The best part of my Art History course is my professor, Frank Dabell. From the moment I sat in the first Tuesday night lecture, I could tell he had a passion for art and it was very evident that he knew anything and everything about works of art in Rome and all over the world. Oh by the way, Professor Dabell is ranked as one of the “World’s Greatest Tour Guides” by Travel and Leisure Magazine  for his knowledge on art and architecture in Rome. Seriously, how cool is that??

It is probably no surprise that learning about the history of art in Rome would enhance my time here, but would you think that enrolling in an introductory risk management course would make my time in Rome more meaningful? Probably not, but Professor Michael McCloskey’s class does!

In nearly every class Professor McCloskey connects “American” risk management topics to the Italian culture. Whether it is discussing the high tax rate (nearly 50 percent) imposed on Italian businesses or the tendency of Italians not to sue over accidents, unlike our lawsuit culture in America. Professor McCloskey also invited three guest speakers to speak to our class, including a Lawyer from Texas that was featured in an episode of House Hunters International and a Temple University Alumni who works for Munich RE in Munich, Germany. My favorite guest speaker was Katie Parla a New Jersey native who runs a blog about food in Rome. Parla talked about her experiences writing a book for National Geographic, running her blog , and the difference in risk exposures and liabilities she faces between Italy and the United States.

Now I must get back to writing my 6-page art history paper on the Mausoleum of Santa Costanza… Ciao.

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