The time is nearing, and the Facebook site is set for posts abroad by 14 Georgia College students, who are anticipating their trip to the Mediterranean to explore foodways of the region. From June 3 – 29, they will venture to restaurants, markets, cooking schools, factories and companies involved in food production as well as vineyards in Greece and Italy.
The students all sophomores and juniors, are majoring in accounting, athletic training, early childhood education, geography, history, marketing, mass communication, psychology and rhetoric. This is liberal arts learning at its best.
Sophomore Madeline Drives has wanted to go to Italy and Greece since her orientation last summer. That’s when a student shared her experience abroad with her.
“I think that actually being able to live within this culture and eat the same foods they eat and experience in their daily lives will help me better understand their culture than any book or movie would,” she said. “Food is a big part of culture, and we will spend a large portion of our trip preparing meals with chefs and learning how to make the dishes ourselves rather than just eating them. This will emerge us into their culture even more.”
Field trips will include visits to the Uffizi Gallery, as well as to the Accademia Gallery and the Duomo Museum in Florence. Students will also attend cooking classes, visit a 300-year-old butcher shop and goat farm (to learn how cheese is made), forage for wild herbs and edible flowers, visit a flour mill that uses ancient techniques to produce quality flour, participate in learning dinners hosted by Italian cuisine experts and visit palazzos and gardens in Montepulciano, Pienza and Montichiello.
In Athens, students will tour the Acropolis museum. On the Island of Kea in the Cyclades, they will be guests of Aglaia Kremezi, who is an expert on Greek food culture. They will also visit ancient ruins and local villages on the island, take boat trips around the island, hike and relax on private beaches.
During their free days, some students will go to the Cinque Terre, Rome, Austria and other locations.
“I look forward to diving into an entirely different culture by meeting great people and taking in their unique perspectives,” said junior Matthew Panetta. “Simply talking to local people can offer the opportunity to stop thinking about myself and focus on the surrounding culture. I also want to take these new perspectives from this experience and turn them into long-term benefits as I finish my college education and start my career.”
Junior Larkin Morris anticipates getting out of her comfort zone to experience the celebration of Mediterranean food.
I spend entirely too much time watching Food Network and have developed a fascination with food cultures,” she said. “I want to put my knowledge to the test and open up to authentic food experiences unlike those in the U.S. Mediterranean food is my favorite so I look forward to cooking alongside authentic Italian and Greek chefs and hearing about the history of the foods that I am preparing,” said Morris. “I believe this experience will give me a much greater appreciation for food and the Mediterranean culture.”
In Florence, students will stay in apartments located in the historic district. Iin the Tuscan countryside outside of Montepulciano, they will stay at a 300-year-old agriturismo—a bed and breakfast—that operates as a working farm. In Athens, the students will be at a hotel with a rooftop patio, where they can view the Acropolis towering above them. In Kea, students will stay in a hotel located in the port of Keos.
Georgia College History Professor Dr. Craig Pascoe hopes this trip gives students an understanding about the differences in foodways between the United States and the Mediterranean region.
“I hope they develop a love for travel and adventure that takes them outside of the regular world at home,” he said. “I also want them to gain an appreciation for different cultures and traditions.”
Watch this video of GC students in Florence https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OWWGdaFlOQ&feature=youtu.be.
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