Clarissa Kraft - CFANS Study Abroad Program
This May, I traveled to Florence, Italy to study the sustainable food systems there, which proved to be one of the most rewarding experiences I have had thus far.
While in Italy, class was based on experiential learning, which is much different than what I have experienced in my other classes.
Instead of reading about material in a textbook, we were out in the world, seeing everything in action. A few examples of this were the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese production site, a farm where they make traditional balsamic vinegar, an organic honey farm, and several different types of wineries. I very much enjoyed each one of these visits and I know that these are places I likely never would have made it to had I been in Italy as a tourist.
The knowledge that I have gained applies so much farther than just Italy and has drastically changed my perspective on food. I am much more conscious of what I am eating and who I am supporting with my food choices; these are attitudes that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
Additionally, while in Italy I was given the time and freedom to explore the area and learn more about myself. Being surrounded by a new language and culture was something I had never experienced before and I enjoyed the opportunity to discover how I am able to adapt to different cultural frameworks. At first, it was difficult and strange to find myself in an environment where I stuck out so obviously as an American. However, throughout the program, I was able to adjust and became comfortable with both the city and the culture. With the support of our professor, I was able to develop my skills, both personally and interpersonally.
I know that this will serve me well as I work with others throughout my time in college and in the workforce after graduation.