Lauren Slagle

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 during my study abroad trip in Greece and Italy! Before leaving the country, we had a class during the spring semester that prepared us for everything to expect while abroad. We cooked different dishes during the class that we would expect to see while in Italy and Greece, while also going over things like safety and packing, which better prepared us for travel. We arrived in Greece first, staying at the Perrotis American Farm School in Thessaloniki. In Greece, we learned about the Mediterranean diet and the processing of foods. We then flew to Italy, where we stayed in Rome, Tuscania, and Florence. In Italy we took many cooking classes (my favorite part) from amazing professors and got to tour lots of historic spots in the cities.

Learning experience

The most valuable learning experience for me was all the different cooking classes we took while in Florence. It was so fun to learn from extremely knowledgeable professors at the school Lorenzo de' Medici, and the recipes we cooked are ones I brought home to cook for my friends and families! It was a great learning experience for me because it was hands-on, so we would learn from the chefs and get lots of information while, at the same time, we got to cook the meals with them.

Memorable experience

The most memorable experience for me was during our time in Greece, one afternoon we got to have a beach day! That day, I felt I really connected with everyone in my group, which made the rest of the trip so enjoyable. The most memorable part of that day was swimming in the Mediterranean ocean (which was actually pretty cold) with all my new friends!

What did you not expect?

One thing that surprised me was what we learned about the Mediterranean diet. I knew a little bit about this diet from different classes I've taken, but learning about it from both Greek and Italian Nutritionists really opened my eyes to what this diet entails. Learning about this diet will help me as a future registered dietitian when meeting with clients and being able to educate them on what the Mediterranean diet is all about.

What advice would you give?

My best advice for other students is if you are able to study abroad go and do it! Being able to experience another country is an amazing opportunity, and you will learn so much, both personally and academically. Another piece of advice I have is if you are ever struggling while abroad, reach out to both other students and the faculty. They are there to help you and want to help you, so don't be afraid to ask or share!

How has this experience impacted your life?

This experience has significantly impacted my life in so many ways. Being immersed in a different culture taught me so many things but also opened my eyes to new personal and educational perspectives. This experience helped me grow outside my comfort zone by traveling and staying in a new place far away from home, which I've never done alone before. Being pushed outside my comfort zone also pushed me to make new friends, and the friends I made on this trip are ones that will last a lifetime! This study abroad also impacted me as a future registered dietitian by opening my eyes to different food cultures I'm not used to so I can help my future clients and am better prepared for anything.

How did you learn about this experience?

I first learned about this experience while in my FSHN 340 class, but I didn't really consider applying at the time. Later, a few of my friends talked about this program, which sparked my interest, and I decided to apply!

International Connections