William & Mary Student Abroad Celebrates Thanksgiving with Traditional Italian Foods

While their friends and family ate turkey back home, William & Mary student Lauren Weiss and her classmates celebrated Thanksgiving weekend by eating prosciutto andparmigiano reggiano in Parma, Italy, as part of the Umbra Institute’s Food Studies Program.

“Going to Parma during Thanksgiving weekend made me forget about being away from my family and home,” said Lauren Cudney of the University of Denver. “And what else could you want during Thanksgiving but food galore?”

Through hands-on tours of family owned factories and cooperatives, the Food Studies students learned about the traditional and complex processes involved in creating some of Italy’s most famed food products.

“What I loved most about this trip was the deep-rooted, historical traditions that go into preparing a very specialized product such as the balsamic vinegar or parmesan cheese,” Weiss said. “Seeing artisans committed to producing the best quality food brought eating (the food) to a whole new level.”

The trip was not complete without a tasting at each of the factories. Students could finally put into practice the curriculum from the classroom and the information they learned on the tours and actually experience the food. A favorite part of the trip was tasting aged parmigiano reggiano and the unfamiliar but decadent treat of balsamic vinegar on top of vanilla ice cream. 

“Like the other co-curricular trips, the goal was to learn about the production of these important food products  but with a historical-cultural context,” said Food Studies Program Director Zachary Nowak, adding: “And it doesn’t hurt to try some great cheese, prosciutto, and vinegar!”

*Reprinted with permission from the Umbria Institute Food Studies Program


Lauren Weiss ’14 International Relations major and Economics minor. This past summer, Lauren interned with Soluciones Comunitarias, a social business, in Guatemala.  You can usually find Lauren at The Daily Grind either working or eating chocolate chip scones.  I’m involved in the International Relations Club, Tribe Ambassadors, and Virginia21.

About International W&M

The Reves Center for International Studies promotes, develops, and supports the global dimensions of learning, teaching, research, and community engagement at the College of William & Mary
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.