September 2008 Archives

International Programs Fair

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What a day!  Cheryl, her husband Wayne, and I spent the whole day on Tuesday at the International Programs fair at University Park.  We met loads of students who were looking for study abroad opportunities.  It was so exciting to see all of the international programs that Penn State and other universities were showcasing at the fair.  I enjoyed talking with students and finding out where they were interested in going and what programs they wanted more information about. 

We already have a few students who have completed their applications for the HDFS in Rome 2009 program!  That is wonderful.  Our application is at:  It is important that students fill this application out.  There is another one on the International Programs/Education Abroad program's website, but that is for after students are accepted into our program.

We had a lot of students wondering how we decide about whom to let into the program.  Here is what Cheryl came up with as the "prescreening" test.  Here are the questions and some brief information about those questions:

1.  What is your major? 

We can accept students from all different majors at the university and from other universities.  Students should check with their advisors to make sure the courses we offer can work towards their degree, if desired.  For some students, it may make more sense to apply to the programs designed specifically for their major alone.  We do give priority to HDFS majors and HDFS minors, but we enjoy having a diverse group. 

2.  What is your grade point average?

We require a minimum of 2.5 cumulative GPA for students to be considered for our program.  Beyond that, we will be looking at the student's other information, such as major, reasons for wanting to go to Rome, and so forth, in addition to the GPA when determining whom to accept.

3.  Are you a serious student?

We are looking for students who want to have an excellent academic experience in another culture.  We do not want students who are planning just to party and be on summer vacation.  There are other ways for students to fulfill that desire.  Our program requires students to complete 9 credits of coursework in 7 weeks, so we need them to be serious students!

We are looking forward to another wonderful year of making plans for the program in Rome.  We are already discussing the field trips to Florence, Venice, and Pompeii.  We have ideas for new projects, readings, and assignments for the three different classes we offer.  We know that this year will pass quickly as we plan.  We are looking forward already to the the best gelato in Rome contest.  I am sure that Cheryl thinks she knows which is best, but just wait and see!

Ciao for now.



  (Photo used with Creative Commons license permission:

Next year already?!

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I cannot believe that we have already started planning the 2009 HDFS in Rome program!  I am so excited to be continuing on with this program.  I had such a wonderful time last year, getting to know Rome and working with the students.  I have lots of ideas on what to add and the students were kind enough to provide feedback so that we could improve the program and give suggestions to incoming students as well. 

Some of the suggestions for incoming students were: 

•          Be prepared for anything and everything.  Keep an open mind.

•          If you think you'll need it...bring it.

•          Get Oriented:  Don't be afraid to explore take yourself on walking tours of the city. Use maps as much as possible as soon as possible.

•          Learn about the Rome public transportation system ASAP: metros and buses are super easy and useful. (Get a free metro map.)

•          Bring a Rick Steve's guide book.

•          Be prepared to spend money...there's no way around it.

•          Don't expect to be well-groomed all day every day - your feet WILL get dirty!

These are great ideas.  We have plenty more ideas to share as well.  We hope that you will come by the International Programs fair on Tuesday, September 23 from 11-5 in the HUB Alumni Hall.  We are hoping that some of our students from this summer's program will attend and chat with you.  If you don't know where the HUB is, go to: and look for G5.  The HUB is short for the Hetzel Union Building.  There is a parking garage right next to the HUB.  If you can't make it to the fair, don't despair (hey, I'm a poet...).  You can contact me at

Ciao for now!  I hope to see you on the 23rd.  I'll be there all day!!

 This is a picture of the cat sanctuary at Largo Argentina (photo by Maggie Brock) 















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