Claire Franciskato

Major: Dietetics
Class: Junior
Timeframe: Spring 2024
Type of Experience: Study abroad
Program: For the Love of Food and Italy
Destination: Italy

Overall Experience

I had an amazing time on the For the Love of Food, Greece, and Italy study abroad program. Before our departure, we were prepared for our trip. We covered safety, cultural differences, our itinerary, and more! Once in Greece, we stayed at the Perrotis College and learned all about the processing of foods and the Mediterranean diet. We also took a historic tour of the city we were staying in, Thessaloniki. Once in Italy, we stopped in Rome, Tuscania, and Florence. We saw a few historic sites in each city, ate amazing food, and learned from incredibly knowledgeable professors. This experience will stick with me forever.

Learning experience

The most valuable learning experience I encountered on this trip was each cooking class we took, led by professors from LdM (Istituto Lorenzo de Medici). Each professor was incredibly knowledgeable about historically significant cultural dishes and their preparation. During each class, the professors also discussed the differences between Italian and American cuisine. Seasonality is a huge aspect of it. This means that in Italy, individuals are typically not consuming produce unless it is in season. This greatly impacts the costs of food (it reduces it). This is something that I will bring into my professional life when counseling clients.

Memorable experience

The most memorable experience from this study abroad was seeing many historic landmarks like the Colosseum, Pantheon, and Duomo (in Florence). It was truly incredible to see these structures in real life. It is something that I will always look back on.

What did you not expect?

During one of our lectures in Florence, we were educated on the true Mediterranean diet, the one consumed by individuals in the 1940s and '50s. This diet happened organically and was simply the way people prepared and consumed food. I learned that protein consumption was incredibly low compared to what many people believe needs to be consumed currently in America. I will consider this knowledge when I educate further clients in my career as the Mediterranean diet resulted in the lowest incidents of cardiac events.

What advice would you give?

Thoroughly look into all of your options to ensure that you are finding the best program for you. Study abroad early if you would enjoy another study abroad experience. In my experience, I fell in love with Italy and wish I could have gone sooner for two weeks because I would have gone back for a whole semester.

How has this experience impacted your life?

This experience has impacted my life by allowing me to immerse myself in multiple other cultures throughout the two weeks. This will extend into my career as a dietician. I will be more knowledgeable about others and differences in the preparation and consumption of food. Also during this trip, I learned things about diet, especially the Mediterranean diet. This information will help me in my personal life and also my professional life.

How did you learn about this experience?

I first learned about this international opportunity by attending the Study Abroad Fair and stopping at the CHS booth. The individuals there were helpful in discussing my options with me and sharing some information about this trip.

International Connections