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IEX J-Term 2019: Eat Italy! Food, Culture, and Lifestyle
Bari, Italy; Bologna, Italy; Milan, Italy; Naples, Italy; Parma, Italy; Rome, Italy; Sorrento, Italy (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms:
Program Terms: January Interim
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This program is currently not accepting applications.
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Program Provider:
Gustavus Adolphus College
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Program Term(s):
January Interim
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Program Description:
Program Description:
Italy banner
Explore Italy's rich culinary diversity and learn how food and agriculture connect with Italian culture and lifestyle!

This course is designed to provide experiences and understanding of the rich food culture and lifestyle practices of Italy.  Students will have an opportunity to cook regional and locally grown foods, reflect on food culture and traditions, and visit local farms.  Particular emphasis will be placed on comparisons between regional Italian areas and students' own food cultures, traditions, and practices.  Course work will include readings, discussion, reflection, and a variety of writing opportunities.

Italy is known for their diverse and unique food culture. This course provides a specific opportunity for students to experience the connection between agriculture and food culture and to explore how food impacts behavior, lifestyle, and tradition. The regions of Italy that we are planning on visiting all have unique food traditions and history.  Olive oil, peppers, pork, and cheese are just a few of the food items that these regions are known for.  Many Italians in these regions devote a majority of their lives to nurturing the land and their food production.  Just as much energy and pride is devoted to cooking, eating these local foods, and passing down their history and tradition.  It is important for students to be surrounded by all aspects of this culture and lifestyle to fully understand it and be able to draw connections and comparisons to what they have experienced in the US.

  • Gain an understanding of how food plays a role in culture and lifestyle through historic and agricultural site visits, cooking instruction, and shared meals
  • Recognize and communicate differences between Italian and American food culture and lifestyle
  • Discover the food history and culture of Italy
  • Visit the breathtaking Amalfi Coast region famous for its production of Limoncello
  • Explore the great city of Rome as well as magnificent Naples
  • Course fulfills one of the two IEX credits required for graduation
Italy panorama
Milan: This city located in the northern region of Lombardy is know for glamor, fashion, and food.
Parma: In the region of Emilia-Romagna, Parma is known best for cheese production and prosciutto.
Bologna: Traditional Bolognese sauce was born in this city.  Bologna is also home to the University of Bologna, the world's oldest university.
Tuscany: The Central Italian region of Tuscany is well known for its art and influence on culture, and is also home to many wonderful olive orchards and vineyards.  
Rome: Fresh vegetables, pizza, pasta, and cheese.  Rome is rich in history and flavors.
Sorrento: This costal town sits on the Southwest side of Italy and overlooks the Bay of Naples.  Sorrento is known for its amazing views and large cliffs, looking out onto Mount Vesuvius.  Sorrento is the Limoncello capital of the world.
Amalfi Coast: Fresh pasta and seafood are staples in the Amalfi region.  This area has been noted as one of the most majestic places on the planet with its cliffside lemon groves and breathtaking views.
Dr. Stephanie Otto, a 2000 graduate of Gustavus, teaches in the Department of Health and Exercise Science.  Her degree is in Human Performance and Exercise Science from Middle Tennessee State University.  She has been teaching nutrition, among other courses, at Gustavus which you could say began to inspire her interest in food and how it is connected to culture and community.  She developed a course called Rediscovering Food which she taught for the first time as a J-term in 2011 and is now offered at an FTS.  This course allowed her to continue to explore topics related to the environment, agriculture, economics, and health.  She accompanied the Gustie Women’s Basketball team to Italy in the summer of 2014 and new immediately that this was a unique place to explore food and culture.  Her and her husband Nate lead their first group of students to Italy in January of 2017 and it was a grand experience for everyone. 

Nate Otto, Health and Exercise Science
Nate Otto, a 1999 graduate of Gustavus, has taught in the Department of Health and Exercise Science for the past 8 years and has served as a Women’s Basketball Coach for the past 9 years.  Nate holds his Master of Fine Arts in Technical Direction and Production Management in Theatre and is a certified yoga instructor.  His involvement and work for USITT on the Health and Safety Commission for 9 years prior to his more recent experience in the Health and Exercise Science Department has refocused his career on personal health and the benefits of movement for mental and physical wellbeing.  In 2014 Nate traveled to Italy with the Gustavus Women’s Basketball team after which he and his wife Stephanie began discussions about a January term course designed to experience the unique local food culture, viniculture and the cultivation and production of Italian oils, cheeses, and pastas.  Nate and Stephanie co-lead their first J-term course to Italy in 2017 and are excited to be going back in 2019.

Academic Calendar
Approximate dates for 2019 are as follows:
Two to three pre-departure meetings: TBA during fall semester 2018.  If you’re studying away during this semester, contact Stephanie Otto for arrangements.
On-campus program: January 7 to January 13, 2019
On-site program: January 13 to February 1, 2019

Anticipated accommodations will include hotels and possibly some agriturismi (hotels situated on working farms) where available.

Program Costs
The program fee will cover round-trip airfare to Italy, transportation within Italy, all lodging, two meals per day, excursions, activities, and guide and entrance fees. The final fee will be dependent upon the number of students who apply and are accepted. We estimate the final fee to be between $6,250 and $6,700 per student.

All Gustavus Adolphus College students who meet the general study away requirements are welcome to apply. 

Application Deadline
Students must complete the online application by April 30, 2018. 

Entry visas and passports
Currently, U.S citizens do not need an entry visa for Italy for stays of 90 days or less. All students who are not U.S. citizens should contact Bryan Messerly to check in about possible additional visa needs. All program participants must have a passport that is valid through at least July 31, 2019, by the start of Fall 2018 semester.

The information in this online brochure is subject to change. Please contact CICE with questions.

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This program is currently not accepting applications.