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Study Abroad in the Pre-Collegiate Curriculum

Sally Morris

For secondary school students of Latin and/or ancient Greek, the opportunity to visit Italy or Greece serves to enhance and enthuse their understanding of the ancient world in a concrete, visceral way as it complements the readings in their grammar and early literary texts. When students see in person Bernini's "Daphne and Apollo" they are dazzled not only by the brilliance of the sculpture but also by the fidelity to Ovid's rendition of the myth. The paper offers the perspective of a faculty member at a private boarding high school who runs study abroad programs in Italy to complement pre-collegiate Latin courses during vacation or for a term abroad, and who has taught for a study year abroad program.

The paper offers reflections based on experience with students on school vacation study tours and the term abroad. It stresses how the visual, tactile, sensory experience enthuses young classicists to ask more questions and desire to know more about the ancient world by continuing their classical studies in college. A tour with students of the tombs at Tarquinia or Cerveteri is perfect for connecting history to archeology, myth to art, and textbooks to the beautiful countryside of Lazio and Tuscany. With their youthful energy, a walk among the tombs is similar to a treasure hunt, and the more they see, the more they want to know. Schools are seeking ways to engender more global and cultural awareness in their students, and for students of the classics, a study abroad experience offers the chance for exposure both to the ancient sites themselves and to their modern cultural and contextual setting. The presentation describes how modes of instruction on site differ from classroom and digitally enhanced learning at the home school, especially when students are given the chance to see the remains of the past in their current setting. Two vantage points in the busy Piazza Venezia in Rome offer extremes of this experience: a visit to the excavations of Le Domus Romane and a tour to the top of the Vittoriano with a view down the Via del Corso, neé Via Lata, as well as the panorama of Rome. Walking past current excavations in the Colosseum, the Piazza Venezia, and on the Palatine show students that more is waiting to be discovered, while the Via dei Fori Imperiali offers a perspective on how much can be lost when excavations are too bold, too fast, or too focused on one period in time. The paper also provides an overview of some opportunities for pre-collegiate study abroad and also some opportunities for teachers to study abroad themselves. A handout will accompany the presentation.

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Study Abroad and Classics

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