The Catholic University of America

Study Abroad: Introduction

Church in Imerovigli  
Church in Imerovigli, Santorini, Greece

Study abroad is particularly recommended for classicists, given the field's professional emphasis upon the languages, literatures, and cultures that originated in the Mediterranean world.  Undergraduate majors in our department frequently travel overseas for a semester or for part of a summer to pursue their studies: the most popular destinations tend to be Italy, Greece, and England.  Some beginning information about the entire process is offered here, but the CUAbroad office can provide even more ideas about destinations and also offers detailed logistical assistance.

How do I get started?

Visit the undergraduate adviser to discuss your interests and look over your transcript to see how studying abroad will fit into your curriculum.  Our department encourages all students to think about these opportunities, so your adviser will probably invite you to begin planning even while you are still a freshman.

After consulting with the department, your next stop should be the CUAbroad office website, where you can read more about CUA policies and procedures, and get some additional information about what programs are available.  Finally, visit the CUAbroad office in person to ask any questions you might have, attend a variety of orientation meetings, learn more about visa and other requirements, and submit any necessary hard-copy application materials.

Where can I go?

Three programs affiliated with CUA are especially relevant for our department's undergraduates and minors; the CUAbroad Office facilitates applications to them.

  • Athens: CUA is affiliated with College Year in Athens, an inter-university program that has been in operation for more than 40 years.
  • Rome: CUA has its own university program in Rome.
  • Oxford: CUA is affiliated with the Oxford Programme for Undergraduate Studies (OPUS) in England. Consideration for this program is highly competitive: consult the CUAbroad Office for details.

But classicists do not necessarily have to study in the Mediterranean or in England.  CUA also has programs in a wide variety of other countries.

Can I study abroad during the summer?

Absolutely!  Summer study abroad is an attractive option for many undergraduates.  It often provides an intensive, condensed experience over the course of several (generally two to seven) weeks; it can complement the regular pursuit of the CUA degree during the academic year; and, in many cases, it need not provide highly specific transfer credits to assist in the progression towards graduation.

As with all study abroad proposals, summer study abroad should be discussed with and approved by the undergraduate adviser well ahead of time, particularly if you want or need to transfer credit for such summer study back to CUA.  (The CUAbroad Office provides guidance on credit transfers, and approval for this must be gained in advance.)

There are some special summertime non-CUA study abroad programs for classicists, and the department strongly encourages students to consider them.

Can I go on an archaeological dig?

Absolutely!  Working as a member of an archaeological excavation offers a different type of study abroad experience for the student of classics. It presents the opportunity to learn about this important area of the discipline firsthand, in a way that cannot be experienced in the classroom, and offers hands-on training in the identification, analysis, and interpretation of ancient artifacts. In return, excavating demands physical stamina, flexibility in the acceptance of living conditions, long work hours, and the willingness to forsake extensive personal travel in return for the chance to share in the discovery of new things and the acquisition of new knowledge. There are many archaeological excavations that accept undergraduate student 'volunteers'; nearly all of them charge fees for room and board, and some for participation as well. Some excavations are archaeological 'field schools' that offer organized and purposeful training in investigative, recording, and interpretive techniques; others more closely emphasize the direct operation of the excavation itself.

What academic requirements should I bear in mind?

Detailed requirements regarding minimum GPA and other academic regulations are available from the CUAbroad office.

What about finances?
 
Sometimes studying abroad can actually work out to be more affordable than staying on campus!  It is worth doing the math to discover whether your major expenses may remain the same or even decrease--bearing in mind, of course, that you will probably spend more on transportation and on special experiences than you do while you are here at CUA.
 
You might also like to consult the CUA Office of Financial Aid to learn more about what effect studying abroad may have on any aid you are already receiving.  Some of the support you have may be applicable to the international experience you are considering.
 
Finally, CUAbroad maintains a detailed website on financing education abroad.
 

Does this department offer any programs of its own?

The Department of Greek and Latin operated its own spring break study-travel abroad program in 2008.  Greece 2008 was a wonderful success, and we hope to offer similar experiences in the future.