Seventeen East Carolina University students engaged in a 3-week study abroad program to Switzerland and Italy this summer. An aggressive itinerary exposed students to the history, architecture, government, educational systems, agriculture, culture and food ways of the two countries.
Activities included visits to the International Committee of the Red Cross, United Nations, Nestle Nutrition Headquarters, interactive food museum, University of Gastronomic Science, cheese production factory, local markets, cooking class and walking tours of historic landmarks.
Most of the participants were nutrition or allied health majors, but the program was available to any major. For several individuals, this was their first flight on an airplane and for almost all it was the first experience traveling outside the United States.
Chelcie Kurzontkowski, a nutrition science major participated in the program as a part of her undergraduate studies. "Studying abroad has filled my mind with so many new ideas and experiences that will stay with me forever.” Says Kurzontkowski. “It has positively affected my way of thinking about how I feed my family, post-graduation career opportunities, lengthened my bucket list, and most importantly, increased my appreciation for other cultures."
The program was organized by Mrs. Nancy Harris, Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Nutrition Science. “Although short term programs do not allow full emersion into a culture, they do evoke a comparative and reflective process that enhances one’s appreciation of cultural diversity as well as evoking a deeper understanding of one’s own culture and global responsibilities.” Says Harris. “Inevitably students find these experiences to result in self-growth, enhanced confidence to explore the unfamiliar, and a strengthened appreciation of cultural diversity.
Dr. Richard Baybutt, Chair of the Department of Nutrition Science comments on Chancellor Cecil Staton’s vision for student international studies. “This is such a great learning and cultural experience for the students” Says Baybutt “We will continue to support these efforts in the Department of Nutrition Science and welcome students from any major to engage in global issues related to food, nutrition, and health.