Study Abroad

Every summer, students from the USC Leonard Davis School and across the university will travel across the world to explore aging! Course topics range from how nutrition and food culture affect longevity to how psychology changes with aging and how death customs and ceremonies vary throughout ancient and modern societies. Want to join students on these exciting and educational adventures? Courses are available to outside individuals (requires enrolling as a limited-status student).

Contact Sara Robinson at to learn more!

GERO 493: Longevity and Death among Ancient and Modern European Populations


This course is led by USC Leonard Davis School Associate Professor Susan Enguídanos and explores the discoveries of ancient humans and bodies that have been preserved to illuminate the connection between diet, health, and disease. The class will travel through Italy and Germany and explore the role of religion and culture in determining and defining death practices, ceremonies, and other customs. Class discussions and field trips will demonstrate the strong connection between religious and afterlife beliefs and body disposal practices. Cities on the itinerary include Milan, Bolzano, Florence, Volterra, Rome, Munich, and more.

GERO 494: How do our brains make us happy or miserable throughout our lives?

Herzliya, Israel

This course, led by USC Leonard Davis School Professor Mara Mather and presented in conjunction with IDC Herzliya, examines how psychologists study thinking, memory, emotions, personality, and behavior and how people change throughout the adult lifespan. Students will learn about research and theory bearing on cognitive, personality, adaptive, and social processes throughout the adult life span and about applications of current research and theory to practical matters in the field of gerontology.

GERO 498: Nutrition, Genes, Longevity and Disease

Genoa, Italy

This course examines the role of nutrition and genes and the impact each has on longevity and diseases, particularly diseases related to aging. It provides the opportunity to learn directly from internationally renowned expert and USC Leonard Davis School Professor Valter Longo, gain a global perspective on genetics and cultural attitudes toward aging, and experience a month-long immersion in the Mediterranean lifestyle.

GERO 486: Aging and Older Adults in Latin America

Medellín, Colombia

Travel to Colombia to volunteer with a program that provides opportunities to optimize the quality of life of older adults in the area through health promotion, disease prevention, social activities, and daily assistance and rehabilitation. This service-learning course provides students with a multifaceted perspective on the social, economic, health care, and environmental contexts experienced by older adults in Colombia, a Latin American country with a rapidly aging population.

GERO 489: Finding the Key to a Long, Happy Life in Nicoya, Costa Rica’s Blue Zone

Nicoya, Costa Rica

This course will immerse students into lifestyles shown to improve the quality of life and extend the lifespan by studying populations that live in communities referred to as “Blue Zones”throughout the world. Students will have the opportunity to visit two of the world’s five Blue Zones: Loma Linda, California, and Nicyoa, Costa Rica.

GERO 488: Food, Culture, Disease and Longevity in Italy and in the Mediterranean

Florence, Italy

The course examines the history of food in the Mediterranean from the Roman times to the present with references to the rich and various historical, political, economic, social, and artistic past of the peninsula.