UMass Boston Offers Chance to Explore Role of Italian Food in Tuscany

January 30, 2013

Colleen Locke


For the first time, UMass Boston is offering students a chance to explore Italian culture by going to Tuscany. This summer, students will get a chance to look at the role of food in popular culture and Italian cinema and learn to cook with the former head chef of several top restaurants in Italy and the United Kingdom.

The two-week study abroad program, which runs from June 1 to 15, is open to all UMass Boston students. Staff and faculty members are welcome to apply, although preference will be given to students taking the course for credit. Students at other colleges and universities are also welcome to apply. Applicants do not need to know how to speak Italian, and there are no prerequisites.

“As I was thinking about a unifying theme for a new study-abroad course in Italy, I realized that food is perhaps one of the most attractive and interesting elements of Italy's cultural identity. Food in Italian Culture explores some of the basic questions of what makes Italy such an attractive cultural destination worldwide, but could also be taken by the casual learner who would like to access a more authentic experience of Italy,” said Assistant Professor of Modern Languages Vetri Nathan.

Nathan is teaching this two-week study-abroad program with support from Chef Angelo Guida, Italian chef instructor at UMass Amherst, and Elena Monami from Università per Stranieri di Siena (University for Foreigners of Siena).

In addition to the “Food in Italian Culture” course, students also have the option of taking a three-credit language course through Università per Stranieri di Siena. Classes are available for beginners and advanced learners. All students will also participate in trips to Rome, Vatican City, and Florence.

“Another reason for exploring food is my curiosity to explore how Americans react to this very different food culture in Italy and why. My hope is that students in this program will better understand their own personal and cultural relationships with food after their very intense personal journey in a very different social food environment,” Nathan said.

There will be two Open Houses about the program on February 14 and February 20. For information on the courses and to download the application, visit the College of Advancing and Professional Studies’ website. Email enrollment questions to Jennifer Goode at