Two years after the start of lockdowns and mask mandates, aspects of life are just starting to feel ‘normal’ again. Many students who have experienced college in a primarily virtual or masked environment are taking advantage of every in-person opportunity Temple has to offer.
One such student is Nicholas Salerno, a third-year legal studies major.
“I tell people I’m trying to make up for the two years of college I lost,” says Salerno. “I’ve gotten the education and everything, but not the social aspect. It’s not just putting your head in a book; it’s building who you are and trying to find your identity.”
On this journey, Salerno has gotten heavily involved in student organizations on campus. Currently, he serves as the professional development chair of Phi Alpha Delta and is a Temple ROTC Cadet, peer advisor and teaching assistant at Fox.
Salerno also studied abroad at Temple’s Rome campus this past summer—an experience he says was, “one of the best decisions [he] had made in his life.”
“In my two months in Rome, I learned more than in my twenty years of life on Earth, and I don’t say that as hyperbole,” elaborates Salerno. “Every day I was learning. Here, in the U.S., we have a lot of history, but we’re just a sliver of the pie compared to Roman history.”
Salerno took two classes during his time abroad: Sacred Spaces and Sustainable Environments. Through a combination of traditional instruction and outdoor excursions, he says he and other students were able to experience the beauty and culture of the city.
Outside of these classes, Salerno says the university also provided engaging activities for students to participate in, such as wine tasting and pasta-making events. And, on weekends, he would not only explore Rome but travel to other Italian cities, as well.
“I traveled all over,” reflects Salerno. “I went to Florence for a weekend. I went to Venice, Milan, the Amalfi Coast, Capri, Sorento, Positano and Naples and I actually went to the original city my great-grandfather is from—Salerno.
“The trip was really touching to me because I’m a third-generation Italian American. My great-grandparents came over; my grandparents and parents were born here. None of my parents or grandparents have been to Italy, so I was the first one to go to Italy. It was just an awing opportunity.”
And Salerno didn’t stop there with the travel—he even visited France and England during his time abroad, exploring iconic monuments like the Eiffel Tower, Louvre and Buckingham Palace.
“Everyone said I was wild on the trip because I went to 22 cities, 12 different provinces and four countries in the span of six weeks. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I wish I had more time,” says Salerno.