Margo Brinegar

Major: Dietetics
Class: Junior
Timeframe: Spring 2024
Type of Experience: Study abroad

Overall Experience

My overall experience with For the Love of Food and Italy and Greece was phenomenal! We traveled to Thessaloniki, Rome, Tuscania, and Florence for two weeks. From pre-departure course work to coordinated experiences with our collaborated international schools, everything was catered for students to experience food & culture that is not our own. for example, we were exposed to information pertaining to the mediterranean diet, attended cooking classes, and experienced tours of several food production plants. They also prioritized safety very well so students felt comfortable through the entire journey as traveling overseas may be different for some travelers. In the end, this program really helped me immerse myself in two different cultures and experience a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Learning experience

The three cooking classes we attended in Florence were the most valuable to me. The school we worked with, Istituto Lorenzo de Medici, taught us that even the most basic ingredients can create the best dishes one has ever eaten. As someone that loves to learn how to cook new food dishes, I loved this the most! My favorite dish we created was the fresh pasta with a tomato and eggplant sauce and calzones.

Memorable experience

I think my favorite memory was visiting the Vatican in Rome. Having a part of my family being roman catholic, it was breathtaking to experience this beautiful church that they mention frequently. The rich history of popes presented in artwork and sculptures throughout the entire building is was so interested to look at too.

What did you not expect?

As this was my first time traveling, culture shock was something I have never experienced before. For example, greek meals are family style and they build in time to spending time with loved ones during the work day. Another example of culture shock I experience was the fresh produce and multiple market communities that are present in Italy and the majority of Europe. Even though we do have farmers markets and fresh produce sections in the US, the majority of produce and products sourced for families is fresh. I would love for those in lower-income communities to have access to fresh produce so they can create nutrient-dense foods for their families.

What advice would you give?

I think my overall advice is if you have the opportunity to experience a study aboard program, do it! Not only does it count as an international perspective credit at ISU, it also gives one the opportunity to experience, again, food and culture that is not your own. Our advisors Erica Beirman and Lorraine Lanningham-Foster were amazing and if you have any questions about this program, I think they would be more than happy to answer your questions. :)

How has this experience impacted your life?

I felt I was impacted on more of a long-term career goal level as I was able to immerse myself in two cultures that aren't my own. This made me realize that traditions or honoring your born culture is important and considering them while working with patients, family, and friends may be helpful in the long run while creating relationships. If you are able to consider and implement one's culture, it may help you to connect on more of a personal level with someone who you may be collaborating with in the future.

How did you learn about this experience?

I first learned about this international opportunity from Anne Oldham in FSHN 340, where she promoted this trip as a great perspective learning experience. This led me to applying to the program on a whim to see what would happen and I got accepted!

International Connections