Laura Komara and Madeline Urbine, both Class of 2022, have achieved an important first for Temple.
They are among the premier Temple Rome Entry Year Program students to graduate from the university.
The program, which began in 2018, allows first-year students to start their college careers at Temple University Rome for a full academic year before completing their remaining three years at Main Campus or Temple Japan.
Temple's Rome Entry Year Program was a big draw for both Komara and Urbine.
Environmental studies major Laura Komara is one of the first Temple Rome Entry Year Program students to graduate from Temple. (Photography by Joseph V. Labolito)
"I chose Temple because of the Rome program," said Komara, an environmental studies major from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. "I've always loved traveling. Living in another country is something not a lot of people get to do. Visiting Rome for a week versus living there for nine months is a world of a difference."
"Temple having its own campus there eased my mind because I knew there'd be students from my own school," Komara added.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Urbine—who's graduating a year early after first earning college credits during her senior year of high school—wanted to leave home for a while to have a new experience.
"With the Rome Entry Year Program, choosing Temple was an easy decision for me," said Urbine, a political science major. "I love learning languages, and this was a great opportunity for me to learn Italian. The program checked a lot of boxes for me."
Political science major Madeline Urbine is also among the first graduating Temple Rome Entry Year Program students. (Photography by Joseph V. Labolito)
While in Rome, Komara and Urbine immersed themselves in the culture.
"I tried to stay in Rome on the weekends as well to really get to know the city," said Komara. "I liked trying to live like a Roman."
Urbine also explored Rome, including its various neighborhoods, flea markets, restaurants and clubs. She even had the opportunity to travel around Italy, visiting Florence, Naples, Venice and Sicily.
"As the student liaison for Temple Rome, I'd tell [incoming] students to go if it's feasible because it broadens your perspective and gives you the support and tools needed to transition from high school to college in a new place and then transition to Main Campus," said Urbine. "You also have a lot of freedom to figure it out yourself."
Temple's Rome Entry Year Program was transformational for both graduates.
"The program gave me a new perspective on the rest of my college experience," said Urbine. "I think if I stayed in the same place, I wouldn't have grown in the same ways. Going to Rome afforded me the opportunity to see who I was outside of my family and friends and made me a stronger student and person. It made me more comfortable being uncomfortable."
Studying in Rome also pushed Komara outside of her comfort zone. "Studying abroad gave me a lot of independence and confidence and taught me to be okay doing my own thing," she said.
After graduation, Komara will work at Lancaster Farmland Trust as a land production assistant in which she'll monitor farmland—including flying drones to take aerial imagery—to ensure nothing new has been built on this land without the nonprofit's approval.
Urbine's future is also bright. Although she's unsure of her next step, she's considering going into educational administration, potentially creating programs or doing student outreach.
Ultimately, they're proud to be among the first Rome Entry Year students to graduate from Temple.
"I had a unique opportunity to start out college, and it put me in a better position at Temple," said Urbine. "It's special to be one of the first graduating students from the Rome Entry Year Program."