Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

Sydney’s #VolsAbroad Experience: Rome to Barcelona Food Study

Sydney Curl | Winter Mini-term 2024

I was extremely lucky to get accepted into the Rome to Barcelona Food Study Program this past Winter Mini Term with Dr. Heidi Stolz. This program was just shy of 3 weeks long abroad and we visited Italy, (Rome, Florence, and Genoa) France, (Nice, Marseille, and Montpellier) and Spain (Barcelona). As a Nursing major, I never thought my dream of studying abroad would be a realistic option due to the demanding nature of my courses. However, because of the Winter Mini Term, the R2B Food Study program was everything I could have ever dreamt of. This trip, the course, and 22 of my newest friends have completely changed my life!!! I cannot recommend studying abroad and this program enough.


What does the Volunteer Experience mean to you and how has your experience abroad contributed to it?

The Volunteer experience is all about placing others above yourself. The glory behind the Rome to Barcelona Food Study program is that it is not confined to a specific major. This allows for an extremely diverse group of 22 strangers to travel the world together. The bond I have with my peers from the program is almost indescribable. By the end of our program, it was very safe to say that we all consider each other as family. We looked out for one another and truly had each other’s backs the entirety of the program which made for being in so many new locations a whole lot easier!

What skills or experiences have you had in your time abroad to prepare you for life beyond UT?

The Rome to Barcelona Food Study program is all about food systems. It taught me that food is the driving force behind the functioning of our world. Food is something that brings as many people together as what it drives apart, which is why learning about our current food system is so important. This program taught me how to leave the planet better than we found it, what a healthy diet actually looks like, and how easy it is to cook good meals.

“Global Engagement is important because it is the best way to gain valuable knowledge about the world we live in.

I think one of the best ways to educate ourselves is through first hand experience. A great way to do that is to experience the world and other people’s cultures first hand.

It is so important to understand where other people come from and how they live their day-to-day lives. Eventually, you start to notice the world is not as big and scary as it seems and that it is our responsibility as humans to learn as much as we can about each other. “ -Sydney Curl

More about UTK Rome to Barcelona Food Study>