International Connections


Mariah Long

Major: Dietetics/Nutritional Science



Year: Senior
Hometown, State: Iowa

Type of experience: Study Abroad
Experience: For the Love of Food and Italy
Experience website: http://isuabroad.iastate.edu/index.cfm?FuseAction=Programs.ViewProgram&Program_ID=12754
Destination: Italy

Overall experience..
Overall, I had an amazing experience studying abroad for 2 weeks in Italy. I had the opportunity to do and see things that I had only dreamed of. I was able to experience the beautiful the culture and history of Rome, Florence, Tuscany, and Parma. I also went to a vineyard, cheese factory, balsamic vinegar plant, and pasta factory. Seeing firsthand how these different products are made and the time and effort that goes into them was very eye opening. I had a wonderful experience and would love to go back if I have the chance.

I learned...
I learned about this international opportunity through Erica Beirman. She was my professor for a cooking lab that I was taking at the time and told our class about this study abroad opportunity. It sounded like so much fun and a great way to study and learn about foods. I was very interested, being a dietetics major, so I applied for the program and was thrilled that I got accepted to be a part of the trip.

An impact to my life...
This experience has impacted my life in so many different ways. It opened my eyes to my love of traveling and exploring different countries. It was awesome to see how Italians live and how their life is different from ours here. Not to mention, the scenery and architecture was unreal and gave me a new appreciation for ancient buildings and structures. This trip also helped me to further my knowledge in my field of study. I loved learning about the Mediterranean diet and seeing what genuine Italian cuisine consisted of. I definitely learned a few tips about nutrition that I will apply to my future as a dietitian.

I will never forget...
My most memorable experience from my trip to Italy is the cooking classes that I got to take in Florence. Our cooking classes took place in a start of the art kitchen, in the beautiful Florence market. It was already such a fun environment and we had wonderful Chefs who taught the class. We got to make so many different Italian dishes and even made our own pasta. I learned so much from these classes and had a blast in the process. We took home all of the recipes and cannot wait to make my favorite dishes for my friends and family.

Advice for others...
My advice for students who want to study abroad is to take any opportunity you have and GO!! It was honestly the best two weeks of my life and I would go again in a heartbeat. You learn so much and get to experience new places, try new foods, see beautiful scenery, and make new friends. Always go with an open mind and be willing to learn a lot. You will have a few busy days and might not get a lot of sleep, but it is all worth it in the end!

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