The College of Human Sciences international programs office now offers a new program in Italy for students seeking a short-term abroad experience. Contributed photo.
The College of Human Sciences international programs office now offers a new program in Italy for students seeking a short-term abroad experience. Contributed photo.

New College of Human Sciences program attracts food lovers to Italy

A new study abroad opportunity will allow Iowa State University students in food science and human nutrition and apparel, events, and hospitality management to study in Italy.

The two-week faculty-led program, “For the Love of Food and Italy,” will be a tasting tour May 15 to 29 through several Italian cities including Rome, Tuscania, Florence, Pisa, Modena, and Parma.

Food is a key focus area of several College of Human Sciences majors, including culinary science, food science, nutritional science, dietetics, hospitality management, and event management. Students in these majors are encouraged to apply for this new opportunity in Italy.

Program directors Erica Beirman and Linda Svendsen, both senior lecturers in food science and human nutrition, designed the program. The lecturers have led a similar food-focused program in Spain since 2012 and plan to offer the two programs on an alternating basis every summer.

“Italy is one of our sitaly-3-online-sizetudents’ top locations when choosing a location to study abroad,” said Catie Funk, an administrative specialist for the College of Human Sciences international programs office. “Our office wanted to make a shorter two-week program for those students who are not able to go for a whole summer or semester.”

Funk said an advantage of attending a shorter study abroad program is the fully planned schedule.

“We pack the itinerary with activities and opportunities that may be hard to come by for students on their own in a longer program,” she said.

Experiencing the tastes of Italy

Students will spend two days at the Barilla headquarters in Parma touring the facility, tasting Italian delicacies, and taking classes at the Academia Barilla Culinary Institute. Participants may be familiar with the company from driving past the Ames Barilla factory just east of Iowa State.

“Our students can compare and italy-16-online-sizecontrast what they know about food here in the United States with the cultural trends and traditions in another culture,” Beirman said. “Students will come to appreciate the diversity of our food system through these experiences.”

Valentini winery and farm in Tuscania will introduce students to agritourism, a growing branch of hospitality that draws visitors to farms to experience agriculture. The group will tour the olive tree farm and olive oil production facilities to learn the science behind the delicacy.

“Locally we see a lot of agritourism at this time of year with the harvest of apples and pumpkins,” Beirman said. “Farms have invested in many activities to attract guests, which helps to supplement the farms’ income.”

Participants will also spend three days at another long-standing partner of Iowa State’s Italian programs — the Lorenzo de Medici cooking school in Florence. Instructors will teach classes on food and wine pairings, Mediterranean nutrition counseling, and gelato making.

Collaboration with the College of Design

This new program will partner with the College of Design’s Rome Program, which will host a welcome reception and organize tours and lectures in the capital city. Erin French, the director of the College of Human Sciences’ international programs office, says the collaboration was natural.

“After working in the College of Design for nine years coordinating the Rome Program, I am grateful and excited to beable to continue collaborating with faculty and staff in Italy to offer academic and cultural opportunities for College of Human Sciences students,” French said.

Local Italian faculty will lead tours of italy-4-online-sizecultural sites such as the Vatican, the Colosseum, the Jewish ghetto, and the Testaccio neighborhood, which is considered the birthplace of Roman cuisine.

“Testaccio is important to Rome for both its history and current concentration of restaurants and specialty food stores including spices, wines, meats and cheeses,” said Svendsen, the lecturer in food science and human nutrition. “The location was originally the innermost port for delivery of goods to Rome from abroad.”

Preparing for departure

Funk said most students in food, hospitality, and event majors can benefit from this new program in Italy.

“This program gives a short overview of many larger courses they have to take,” Funk said. “Study abroad gives students a chance to explore another culture and experience areas within their majors with the helpful guidance and protection of the university.”italy-12-online-size

The deadline to apply for the new international program is Dec. 11. Participants will receive two credits for the course, in addition to fulfilling the International Perspectives graduation requirement.

Students can apply for a variety of study abroad scholarships. Awards are available for students both inside and outside of food science and human nutrition.

For more information about the “For the Love of Food and Italy” study abroad program, view the program brochure online. Applicants must meet specific academic requirements and preference will be given to upperclassmen.

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KEY CONTACTS:

Erica Beirman, senior lecturer, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Iowa State University, 515-294-4361, ebeirman@iastate.edu

Linda Svendsen, senior lecturer, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Iowa State University, 515-294-9577, lsvends@iastate.edu

Catie Funk, administrative specialist, international programs, College of Human Sciences, Iowa State University, 515-294-1010, cfunk@iastate.edu

Erin French, director, international programs, College of Human Sciences, Iowa State University, 515-294-7153, efrench@iastate.edu

Shannon Stump, graduate assistant writer, College of Human Sciences, Iowa State University, 515-294-9424, hsnews1@iastate.edu

 

  • Quick Look

    A new short-term study abroad opportunity will allow Iowa State University students to study food, nutrition, and hospitality in Italy. The program will guide students through food-based lessons in six cities.


  • “Study abroad gives students a chance to explore another culture and experience areas within their majors with the helpful guidance and protection of the university.”

    Catie Funk