So I’ve been in Italy for 2 weeks and I’m still not fluent in Italian (haha). In all honesty though I actually haven’t picked up on very much Italian. Because I’m with my school and being taught by my own professors from UConn, English is still the language I’m most surrounded by. Speaking of professors, I’m taking 2 classes here in Italy. My first class is a Mediterranean diet and health class taught by UConn teachers and my second class is a history of the Mediterranean diet taught by a professor who works for the Italian school we’re stationed at. Although he is fluent in Italian, he’s actually German, but only speaks English to us. Also, every Wednesday we take a cooking class taught by an Italian chef. If it wasn’t clear by now, the focus of this study abroad program is to learn about the Mediterranean Diet.
Taking classes abroad has it’s similarities and differences from taking classes at UConn. For starters, we still have assignments and tests, and since its the summer term it feels like we have something due every week. This kind of came to a shock to me because since I’m abroad of course my mind is only on exploring Italy and traveling more within Europe. So it kind of sucks when I have to stay inside working on school work. On the bright side classes abroad call for many field trips. Since these classes are about the Mediterranean diet we go out to experience the Mediterranean diet first hand. Which means free food! With our Italian professor as our tour guide he takes us to all these authentic Italian places and not just the touristy sites. We’ve gone to local supermarkets, elementary schools to learn about their lunch systems and panini shops. This is one of the reasons I’m grateful to have a professor teach us who’s from Italy. In Florence there’s so many touristy pizza places and gelato places, and even restaurants. The food is Americanized to adjust to the tourists likes and along the way it becomes unauthentic Italian food.
In the history class we learn about how the Mediterranean diet came to be and where it originated. In this class we did an olive oil tasting, bread tasting, honey tasting and much more. Just tasting the difference between the food presented to us vs the same recreated food in America was amazing. And then the Mediterranean diet health class compared the nutritious facts of Mediterranean cuisine to American cuisine and compared health statistics. So basically the two classes worked together to explain to us that Americans need to adjust their diets fast and take notes from the Mediterranean lol. And to top it all off the cooking class showed us how to make these healthier more nutritious Italian cuisine (and even not so healthy Italian cuisine). We made, pizza, risotto, and squid so far. I’m so excited and can’t wait to see what we get to make next and am so grateful for the opportunity to learn to cook this wonderful country’s food.