International Connections


Joseph Hassett

Major: Dietetics/Nutritional Science



Year: Senior
Hometown, State: Des Moines - IA

Type of experience: Faculty-Led Program
Experience: For The Love of Italy and Food
Experience website: http://isuabroad.iastate.edu/?go=CHSItaly
Destination: Italy

Overall experience..
This was a once in a lifetime opportunity with the culinary classes in Florence given by professional chefs that have mastered the Italian cuisine, Gelato tours through Rome, the immense amount of history that you could both see and feel in each city, and of course the amazing friendships I found with people who started as complete strangers.

I learned...
I first learned about this study abroad program from former students who attended the program. I also had class with both of the instructors and they did a very good job encouraging me to step out of my comfort zone and apply for the program.

An impact to my life...
This experience really taught me how to step out of my comfort zone and be comfortable with that. Before traveling to Italy I felt confident in my independent traveling abilities along with navigation and communicating with the locals. However, after being in Italy for a short amount of period I realized there was a language barrier that took a decent amount of work to over come. This new challenge was something that really sparked my interest and gave me a greater appreciation for learning a new language. One of the biggest long term personal and professional goals that I feel like I have gained from studying aboard is a willingness to learn, open to diversity, and ability to commit to new challenges.

A surprising discovery...
One of the biggest things that took me by big surprise was the amount of pride that the Italian people take in their food. Everyone from the professional chefs serving five course meals, to the barista you are buying a simple slice of pizza from, they all make their food with pride and present it as if it is a piece of artwork. This is something that I would love to adopt for my future practice when working with clients and teaching them ways to cook for themselves, and showing them that they should always take pride in their dish. Even when it is as simple as a piece of pizza.

Advice for others...
The best advice I received before attending my study abroad was to make sure I put myself out there, and try anything and everything new. With this mindset I never said no to any new dish or function to attend. This ensured that I made the most out of my short two weeks in Italy, and after returning home and reflecting I do not feel as if I missed out on anything, and that I was able to see and accomplish as much as I possibly could.

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