Gburg Abroad, Part 3: Anoush Aghababian ’16 takes on the classics in Rome

More than half of Gettysburg students spend at least one semester studying off-campus. In 2013, the Institute of International Education recognized this commitment to engaged learning when it ranked the College 5th in the nation among baccalaureate institutions for mid-length (one semester) duration study abroad. Over the past 10 years, Gettysburg has been ranked within the top 20 institutions in this same category.

Last year, 346 Gettysburg students studied abroad in 33 countries—including the Czech Republic, Hungary, Morocco, the Netherlands, Argentina, Ghana, and Greece. In this five-part series, five students share their off-campus studies stories, and how these experiences have helped to alter their perceptions and reshape their goals as they plan for their lives on campus and beyond.


Anoush Aghababian ’16
Classics major, Studio Art and Anthropology minor
Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies: Rome, Italy

I chose this program because of its intense focus on Classical Studies. I was able to study with 35 other dedicated (and intimidatingly intelligent!) students who all had similar interests in the Ancient Romans and Greeks. The program is quite competitive, and is recognized in the world of Classics for its academic rigor and prestige. I was ecstatic when I was accepted.

On the program:
Every student was required to enroll in a two-credit Ancient City course, for which there were various site visits, museum tours, and field trips in addition to our lectures. It was extremely beneficial (and absolutely incredible!) to be able to physically see and experience the subjects we were covering in class. I also enrolled in an Ancient Greek language course and an art class focused on European art of the Renaissance and Baroque periods.

For my final project, I focused on the archaeological evidence concerning the history of the Roman monarchy. Traditionally, the monarchy was thought to have begun with the famous founding of the city in 753 BCE by Romulus. There are so many mythological and illogical components, and yet there is so little concrete evidence associated with this tradition. So I decided to focus on the archaeological evidence, referencing what we know about the remnants of monarchical constructions in the city and writings about Roman history. It was certainly challenging, particularly because there is so little reliable archaeological facts concerning events so old.

TempleOn her prior work abroad:
I love being abroad. I accompanied Professor Carolyn Snively to Macedonia as an assistant for her archaeological project in 2013. It was fascinating to be right there in the dirt, literally shoveling up bits of antiquity. Having seen so many pictures of old churches and temples and such in textbooks, I think I had started taking archaeology for granted, but working at a physical site made me realize that what archaeologists do is mind-blowing; I was unearthing, with my bare hands, walls and baptisteries and floors that were nearly 1,500 years old!

On the photo:
AugustusAlthough this is at the Louvre in Paris, I am standing in front of a statue of Augustus. Throughout the semester in Rome, instead of roll call we were each assigned a Roman emperor, whose names we would yell out in order of their reigns. I was first alphabetically, so I was assigned to be the first Roman emperor, Augustus. It was totally nerdy, and I can't imagine what the Italians thought about thirty American students yelling out Roman emperor names at random sites and museums, but it was also a fantastic way to memorize the emperors.

What’s next?
I am planning on studying abroad again in Ghana in spring 2015. Ghana will definitely be different from Macedonia or Rome; I will be focusing more on my anthropology and art minors. I hope to research and explore the symbols used in Akan art called Adinkra symbols, combining my interests in both art and languages.

Follow our five-part series on off-campus studies experiences to learn about a student athlete who earned two scholarships to study in Japan, a student who immersed herself in the history and complexity of Israel through a semester in Jerusalem, a psychology student who chose a Washington, D.C., program to gain experience in nonprofit work, and a student who spent a year tracing immigration and culture from the Maghreb into France.


Global Initiatives
Develop citizens able to contribute and lead in a global society.


Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.

Posted: Tue, 2 Sep 2014

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