Fox marketing professor Katie Gerst reminisces about her time teaching at Temple Rome. From favorite moments to what she missed about home, Gerst covers it all and gives advice to students curious about studying abroad.
Were there any major culture shocks you weren't prepared for?
I had already been traveling a lot by the first summer I spent in Italy, so not totally. For me, it was more things like getting homesick after a while, missing my cats, missing having a clothes dryer, etc. I loved traveling so much that I never envisioned myself missing home.
What would you say to a student who is anxious about studying abroad?
Don't be afraid to make new friends. Talk to people in the dorms, at orientation, in class. You'll meet so many new people and that can make the transition much easier. In fact, one of my former students that I am still in touch with met her best friend during her orientation at Temple Rome. They are now godmothers to each other's babies!
Do you have any favorite moments from your time abroad?
So many! The first time I lived in Rome was 2012—a Euro Cup summer. I was very excited because I am a huge soccer fan. Everyone kept saying the Italian team wouldn't do well—they were too old, needed young talent, etc. They made it all the way to the final. It was an incredible experience! On a smaller scale, I still remember the first time I got through a trip to the grocery store without using any English. I was so proud of myself. Sometimes it's those little things.
Are there benefits to going abroad over the summer rather than a full semester?
This is really different for every student. Not everyone has room in their schedule for an entire semester—or even a summer. I always say, just do whatever you can and what works for you, whether it's an immersion, a summer, a semester or a year—just do something.
Interested in studying at Temple Rome? Learn about the summer and semester options.
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