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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

Maymester | Italy | Susan Enguídanos | 2 units (Contact department for 4 unit option)

May 13 – May 15, 2024 (On Campus)
May 19 – 31, 2024 (in Italy)

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 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.

GERO 498: Nutrition, Genes, Longevity and Disease

Maymester | Italy | Valter Longo | 4 units

May 14 – May 17, 2024 (On Campus)
May 19- June 8, 2024 (in 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.

May 13 – 17, 2024 (On Campus)
May 20 – June 1, 2024 (in 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 Nicoya, Costa Rica.

May 13-17, 2024 (On Campus)
May 20-June 1, 2024 (in South Korea)

Explore aging in the context of Korean policy, culture, interventions and technology. Students will be introduced to Korean culture, values, demographic trends, and aging-related policies in order to explore diverse challenges faced by older adults, including poverty, social isolation, employment, and physical and mental health.

GERO 499: Genetics of Aging in England, Ireland and the United States

Julymester | England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland | Sean Curran | 4 units

July 15-19, 2024 (On Campus or via Zoom)
July 21-August 2, 2024 (in the UK and Ireland)

Travel to England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland to learn the fundamentals of genetics and the role the environment plays in longevity and health outcomes. Use the frameworks of local folklore and fiction as the basis of understanding the history of genetic studies and what ignites the gerontological imagination in the development of the science of senescence. Explore three distinct longitudinal studies of specific populations while considering the broader cultural aspects of age and aging.

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