Gustolab gave me a new appreciation for food & wine! September 26, 2017

By (University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign) - abroad from 09/07/2015 to 12/23/2015 with

Gustolab International: Rome - Institute for Food Studies Semester and Programs

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained an extensive knowledge of the Italian food & wine business, which is vastly different from how America does it. I discovered how much passion farmers have for their products and how we can learn and apply this knowledge to encourage sustainable and innovative food systems.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Classes were small and as a result we were able to form a bond with our professors and classmates, which made for a unique learning experience. Academics were challenging, but fair.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Our on-site facilitator was an enormous help in getting us assimilated in Rome.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Our apartment was a bit far from the school, but the apartment was more than enough to suit our needs.

* Food:

We had to provide our own food

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

We took many trips to lesser known areas around Rome and in central Italy which were incredible experiences

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had an issue with a wisdom tooth during the trip and I was put in contact with a doctor immediately

* Safety:

The talk about pickpockets is exaggerated, and we always felt safe walking back to our apartments late at night.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

Finances

* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 125

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

The Italian language program was a little too focused on having us learn the food & wine lexicon first, rather than the language as a whole, but it was an effective class overall.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? None
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Definitely try to interact with local people in Italian on a daily basis, it will help immensely

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Class day trips
  • Quality of Professors
  • On site learning
* What could be improved?
  • Italian language class
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? The emphasis the program puts on truly assimilating into Italian culture. It is a welcome surprise, but I don't think I was mentally prepared to dive into speaking the language and interacting with local farmers and winemakers.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.