While on Study Abroad to Italy, Baking & Pastry student Samantha traveled to coastal Cinque Terre | Photo: Samantha Adams
Baking & pastry student (now alumna) Samantha knew that her 8-week internship in Italy would change her life, but had no idea how much.
When she arrived in the tiny town of Orvieto, she didn’t speak the language and was nervous about working in Restaurant Zeppelin’s foreign kitchen.
Soon she was helping Chef Lorenzo Polegri on big catering jobs and prepping for his summer cooking classes. She loved every minute — and she gained a sense of confidence that can only come from living and working in a completely new environment. Sam’s story:
My Internship at Restaurant Zeppelin
by Samantha Adams '13
Major: Baking & Pastry Arts
I’d recommend JWU’s Study Abroad programs for EVERYONE. It’s great experience. It’s hard to go by yourself but once you get there you’ll really grow. I’d love to do it all over again! It’s so different from being at home, and it really makes you appreciate what you have. I really learned a lot about myself over there — studying abroad really shifts your perspective.
The top 5 lessons I learned on my internship:
1) Being able to accept and appreciate other cultures. Really getting to know people from outside the US was so important to help me grow. And it was important to find a way to enjoy it on my own.
2) My confidence: I threw myself into all kinds of new situations. Knowing if I need to, I can do anything — culinary, baking — made me really think about life after college.
3) REALLY learning to cook the Italian way. I loved being in the kitchen, learning and cooking REAL Italian food. I kept all the recipes — I love sharing them with my family! (They love it too.)
4) Adjusting to a different way of life: JWU is hustle-bustle all the time. Italy is completely different — it’s so laidback. Being there taught me to slow down and think step-by-step — to really live in the moment.
5) Finding a family away from home: I met so many people from all cultures in the kitchen. The majority of us there really learned from one another — most had a culinary background, and we really helped one another. We formed a little family there, which really helped with the homesickness.
Eating is a great way to get to know a culture. Each Italian region has its own famous dish — I wanted to try as many as I could!”
Sam learning the art of pizza-making at Restaurant Zeppelin in Orvieto (left) and cheering on the home team in the Euro Cup (right). Photos: Samantha Adams.
Coolest Things about Italy
1) Traveling. I went to the city where my great-grandfather was from. I met my brother on a school trip. I went to as many places as I could — including Sicily, Venice and Cinque Terre.
2) Eating is a great way to get to know a culture. Each area of Italy has its own famous specific dish or ingredient — I wanted to try as many as I possibly could! I’m not the biggest coffee person, but I really learned to enjoy espresso. I also found the best bread, the best pizza.
3) I gained a new appreciation for super-fresh, local ingredients: fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, cheeses. (Coming back to the US I noticed so many processed foods.)
There, the emphasis is on simple ingredients, used in a way that really changes the dish. Chef Lorenzo is very focused on using the highest-quality, local ingredients, and preparing foods using classic Umbrian and Tuscan techniques.
Sam’s finished pizza (left). Taking a class at Perugina Casa del Cioccolato (right). Photos: Samantha Adams