Monday, February 27, 2017

From Values to Gelato: Students Embark on a Deep Dive into Italian Food Culture

In an afternoon session at North campus, outbound Humber Culinary and Baking and Pastry students took part in a Study Abroad pre-departure workshop to discuss their hopes, academic and professional aspirations and hesitations about the trip they are about to make to study at the International School of Hospitality at the Florence University of the Arts in Florence, Italy, later in the semester. 

The anticipation evident on each of their faces for the upcoming travel was a clear indicator of how excited they are to get boarded. With a mix of travel backgrounds, the group agreed it won't seem real until they touch down at the airport. Students were surprisingly at ease about embarking on the trip and overall were impressed by the ease of the process, and accredited much of it to the ongoing support from their HRT Study Abroad Coordinator, Judy Hebner.

Facilitated by Rebecca Fitzgerald, Manager of International Mobility at Humber, the workshop group discussed the elements of learning expectations in a new context, culture shock and cultural assumptions that each of the students are likely to live during their transition to their new Italian lifestyle. The excitement in the room only rose when one student learned she is required to take part in a gelato making workshop as a mandatory part of the program...

Filled with wonder for the new culinary and pastry techniques they will learn in the cinematographic city, the students claimed to be equally excited to experience the city itself. One student, who had taken part in a previous visit of the region, when asked her take-aways from the first tour chimed,  “I loved Florence; the vibe of city, everything about it; I just need more time to go back to experience more!”

This is precisely what the Study Abroad program at Humber offers, as it aims to provide to the type of experiential learning that opens up the world to students. The renowned university program to enhance their skills, while experiencing the vibe, and more important, learn and reflect through embedding themselves in the day to day culture of a different country.

We were also fortunate enough to catch up with FUA faculty and program coordinator Massimo Coppetti on his recent visit to Humber, when he echoed the students' sentiments of how important the cultural aspect of the experience will be. 
As Coppetti explained, "on the cultural level they are going to learn to appreciate quality of ingredients like a local from the region - from both a scientific and cultural theory perspective, but also as a lived experience."

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