​Students’ trip to Italy proved to be more than a food experience



Written by Kendell Combs, Junior, Agribusiness Management & Agricultural Communication

Recently a handful of Agricultural Economics students had the opportunity to spent 10 days in northern Italy on a study abroad trip lead by AgEcon’s Dr. Gunderson. Students Caroline Crosslin, Karlee Kitchel, Sara Lechlider, Brynn Roy, and Richayla Huff were able to immerse in Italian culture while learning about the country’s agriculture industry. In aid of learning about the wide spectrum of the food culture in Italy, the group was shown three regions while abroad: Tuscany, Emilia Romagna, and Cinque Terre.

After touring and interacting at vineyards, prosciutto factories, olive groves and aging rooms for balsamic vinegar, Caroline (Senior; Applied Agricultural Economics; Danville, IN) noticed the strict guidelines that producers have in place to protect their products and customs. “Italians take immense pride in how they grow and produce their food.”

Karlee (Senior; Sales & Marketing; Flora, IN) admits that it is hard for her to put into words how truly incredible her study abroad experience was with the department because each place was unique in its own way. “Tuscany’s views were picture perfect, Parma had the most amazing cheese tastings, and Cinque Terre’s boat cruise and views along the cost were breath taking!”

Sara (Sophomore; Agribusiness Management; Gaithersburg, MD) found the production of balsamic vinaigrette to be fascinating. “It was very interesting to learn that the balsamic vinaigrette is produced much like wine: from grapes and aged in wooden barrels. The main difference is the acidity, which they control closely.” Since the United States does not widely produce balsamic vinaigrette, this visit was just another way that proved study abroad trips can open you up to many first-time experiences.

While visiting Parmesan Regiano, Brynn (Senior; Agribusiness Management; Battle Ground, IN) learned that Parmesan Regiano cheese is only produced with milk from the Parma region of Italy. “The milk flavor is what makes Parmesan have its own distinct taste, and it is produced from the grains grown in the area, and then eaten by dairy cows of that region.”

Since the trip, Richayla (Sophomore; Sales & Marketing; Brownstown, IN) would like to tell other students interested in study abroad to absolutely do it. She attributes her amazing experience to the wonderful host family, the country side, and the time sampling wine and cheeses from of the world’s finest wineries. “It actually encouraged me to spend a whole semester abroad next semester!”


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