Gabriella Kroeze

Major: Dietetics
Class: Senior

Overall Experience

This summer I got to experience Italy through its beautiful food and culture as I took the “Not just Italian food” course at Lorenzo de' Medici Institute in Florence. Overall, I got to meet so many people who shared a passion of cooking and nutrition like myself and make friendships that will last me a lifetime. It was the most amazing summer I have ever experienced getting to travel around Europe and enjoy new cultures. I have gained so much more perspective on life and the world. I also gained more confidence, knowledge, and courage studying abroad. I highly recommend studying abroad it will change your life!

Learning experience

The most valuable learning experience I encountered was traveling around the country. Getting to learn the different transportation systems and figuring out social norms in a different culture was very beneficial to my learning experience. Also learning the Italian language and ways of living has broadened my understanding of different cultures. I have so much more perspective on life than I used to and it’s amazing to see how big the world really is and there is so much more to it. I still can’t believe the different sites I have gotten to view with my own eyes.

Memorable experience

The most memorable experience I have from my study abroad adventure was on my last night in Italy. I got to have dinner with all my classmates and professors and enjoy a sit-down meal. Getting to hear everyone talk about their stories and how they have grown was so inspiring. It was bittersweet seeing how much we had grown and knowing we were about to say goodbye to our best friends until our next adventure together. Our university even paid for our last meal which was such a sweet surprise. Overall I will never forget my time spent in Florence, Italy!

What did you not expect?

I did not expect to be so relaxed throughout my time in Italy. The way of life there truly allows you to slow down and enjoy what you’re doing. Nobody is stressing you out over work or deadlines and they truly understand there is more to life than work and school. During the month of August most of Italy shuts down as everyone goes on vacation with their families. I loved this idea to spend a lot of time with your loved ones and drop everything including work and school. This is something I would like to incorporate into my future business as I think it so beneficial to take breaks and be surrounded by things you love.

What advice would you give?

My advice to other students who want to study abroad would be to step out of your comfort zone! Everyone studying abroad is in the same boat as you and wanting to make new friends. Don’t be shy when introducing yourself because everyone will love you no matter what. Always make sure to be gentle with yourself as studying abroad takes a lot of courage and know that you can do it! Of course don’t forget to have so much fun and enjoy every minute of your experience!

How has this experience impacted your life?

This experience has impacted my life in more ways than one. The culture of Italy really taught me how to slow down and enjoy the little things in life such as having dinner with my family or coffee dates with friends. The entire time I was there everyone always made sure you were having a good time and being taken care of. Life is too short to rush through it and stress over the little things. I also gained so much knowledge on how important culture is when working with food and patients. It is so important to know everyone is different and we all come from different backgrounds. It is important to stay true to our values and help others do the same. I plan on becoming a private practice Dietitian and will take all of the knowledge I gained with me to help better serve my future clients!

How did you learn about this experience?

I first learned about this international opportunity at the study abroad fair. I always knew I wanted to go but never knew where to start the process. I had advisors guide me in the right direction and it was a lot simpler than I thought. Everyone who helped me along the way truly was so helpful and supportive in my decisions going abroad.

International Connections