International Connections


Kenzie Besch

Major: Dietetics/Nutritional Science



Year: Senior

Type of experience: Faculty-led study abroad program
Experience: For the Love of Italy and Food
Experience website: http://isuabroad.iastate.edu/?go=CHSItaly
Destination: Italy

Overall experience..
This study abroad experience was truly a once in a lifetime experience for me. The For the Love of Italy and Food trip provided me the opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone by experiencing a new culture and enjoying new foods while learning about the traditions and history of Italy. I enjoyed being able to take part in the fun educational activities that were planned for us including cooking classes, visits to food production facilities, and tours of the cities to learn more about their rich history.

I learned...
I learned of this opportunity as a member of Erica Beirman's FSHN 115 lab.

An impact to my life...
The time I spent in Italy has helped me to grow both personally and professionally. As a dietetics major I enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about the Italian philosophy of enjoying and creating food that is not only delicious but also nutritious. Being able to cook alongside Italian chefs while trying new foods and cooking techniques was an experience that I will never forget. Personally this trip has helped me to grow so much and learn more about myself and how I deal with experiences outside of my comfort zone. This trip has opened my eyes up to a whole new exciting world of traveling and experiencing new cultures.

A surprising discovery...
One of the things that most surprised me throughout my experience was just how different the Italian way of living is. As we traveled from city to city one thing overall stayed the same, people took the time to enjoy things in life a little more than most tend to here in the United States. This was true for everyday activities, and what I especially will take away from this trip was the way that they enjoyed their meals and the whole process that went along with that. I plan to implement this in my personal life by taking the time to make meals that I can enjoy and share with my friends and family and not rush through this process so much. I also will share this with my future patients, to remind them that food is something that should be enjoyed, and sharing it with others that we care about can make food and cooking something that is fun.

Advice for others...
For future students who are considering the For the Love of Italy and Food program or any study abroad program in general, I would tell them to enjoy every minute of it and take advantage of opportunities you have at hand whether it's getting up a little earlier to see the sunrise from a beautiful spot in the city or just branching out and trying a food that is traditional to the region you are visiting. Everyone's experience is different and that's really the beauty of travelling so don't be afraid to get a little out of your comfort zone and make your trip one that you will remember.

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