Every Classics student knows that benefits of the classical education go way beyond The Odyssey. Students who studied ancient Greek and Latin have higher Med school acceptance rates than any other subject, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. Harvard Magazine maintains that they also make some of the most successful law students. The rigor and commitment of the major is undeniable; who else but a hard-core scholar can get through all those noun declensions? Students in the classics know how to get down and study hard.
However, the stereotype of the dusty scholar is a thing of the past. Today’s students have many opportunities to get out behind their books and see the ancient world for themselves (Or at least what’s left of it!). If nothing more, reading classical literature ignites an incredible desire to visit all of the sites, from the marvelous Roman Forum to the islands of Greece to Dido's Carthage - if you study classics, you know exactly what this feels like! Luckily, studying abroad is the perfect chance to immerse yourself in this opportunity. Read The Aeneid and works of Catullus as you make your way through the Mediterranean. Also, it's pretty much a guarantee that your courses will include lots of field trips! Think that studying classics abroad might be for you?
Students looking to study abroad are in luck. From Hadrian’s Wall in the west to the Fertile Crescent in the East, students can find vestiges of the classical world almost anywhere. Pretty much every modern universitas magistrorum et scholarium offers courses in the ancient world to pay homage to their classical roots.
If you're considering studying classics abroad, your mind probably immediately jumps to Greece or Italy. With fantastic programs like AIFS at The American College of Greece and CSU in Florence, this isn't a bad thing! If you choose to study in one of these two countries, you'll be able to truly immerse yourself in the rich history that you already love to study. Mind-blowing ruins and monuments will surprise you around every corner. Also, you'll have the unique opportunity to see how the ancient cultures and customs that you've been studying have translated to modern day. For instance, don't be surprised if much of the Italian you hear on the street sounds familiar.
Remember, however, that not all roads lead to Rome. If you're feeling adventurous, branch out a bit. There are fantastic opportunities to study the classics all around the world. Turkey, Jordon boast impressive ancient sites. With these programs, you'll be exposed to more exotic cultures, and a semester or year is the perfect amount of time to sink your teeth in and really get to know the people. You'll return home with a broader perspective on the ancient world and more understanding of how each historical event fits in with the next. This can only help you in future studies of the classics.
If you're really tired of lecture-style classes and spending hours translating texts in the library, think about branching out even more. There are some pretty unusual study abroad opportunities out there, each of which relates back to the classics in some valuable way. For instance, if you're looking for your very own Indiana Jones-esque adventure, check out the underwater archaeology program with Penn State in Israel!
Although your learning doesn't have to be confined to a classroom, if you prefer your discovery to take place indoors, don't forget about the treasures that are buried in the stacks of the Bodleian Library at Oxford. Picture yourself walking the hallowed halls and eating in the grand dining rooms as you ponder that latest wisdoms imparted on you by your world-famous classics professor. A study abroad experience like this may not be quite as adventurous as underwater archaeology, but it will still activate your imagination like staying at home never could and will really enhance your studies of the classics. Finally, consider studying at the Free University in Berlin, where you can take a peek at the wonders in the Pergamon Museum.
Taking time off to go abroad can be financially challenging, but fear not, there are a multitude of scholarships that apply to both classics specific programs and general study abroad. (Be sure check if your school offers any scholarships as well.)
- Classical Association of New England’s Alison Barker Travel Scholarship gives funds so students can go see what they’ve been reading about.
- American School of Classical Studies in Athens’ Charles M. Edwards Scholarship provides money to students studying classics at the ASCAS.
- Classical Association of the Middle West and South Manson A. Stewart Scholarships awards students who show exceptional promise in the field.
- APA Minority Scholarship in Classics and Classical Archaeology is a summer scholarship that supports minority students.
- More Study Abroad Grants and Scholarships
Contributed by Julia Brady
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