During Seton Hill University’s M-Term, May 7-23, Janice Sandrick, Ph.D., associate professor of dietetics, and nine University students engaged in an adventure in Spanish cuisine and culture.

The students were enrolled in the M-Term class NT 305: Adventures in Food and Nutrition: The Spanish Cuisine. Students had the opportunity to explore the province of Cordoba, Spain, while learning the important benefits of the Mediterranean diet.

Seton Hill University partnered with the School of Hospitality in Cordoba . The school’s faculty arranged for students to participate in discussions and cooking classes about the Mediterranean diet. In addition to the class instruction, the School of Hospitality arranged for the students to explore the food industries in the region. The students visited an olive oil production facility, a cheese factory, produce yards, fish markets, and a vineyard. At each of these locations, students were educated on the processing, selection, tasting, and preparation of the foods.

“The program the School of Hospitality developed for our students is a model program. They designed it specifically for us to meet our needs. They hope to develop an exchange program with schools in the United States and use this program,” said Sandrick, whose daughter, Caroline, a psychology major at Saint Francis University, who also participated in the trip.

Sandrick noted that not only were Seton Hill students learning, but the students at the School of Hospitality were learning also.

“The tourism students at the School of Hospitality gave us the tours of the cultural areas and translated for us. This was an opportunity for them to practice their English and highlight the history of the area. Additionally, the students in the culinary program assisted our students with cooking and practiced serving the meals to us in a five star style. Our dietetic students also received translation help from another group of Seton Hill students who were visiting Spain at the same time, studying Spanish and Western cultures with Judith Garcia-Quismondo,” said Sandrick.

The academic component of each day was held from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. After 2 p.m., the group engaged in cultural adventures and sight-seeing in the surrounding area.

Seton Hill University students participating in the trip included Melissa Johnson, of Greensburg, Pa., Jennifer Kot, of Windber, Pa., Jessica Lieb, of Murrysville, Pa., Anastasia Martin, of Pittsburgh, Pa., Tatyana Martin, of Pittsburgh, Pa., Grace McQueen, of Rochester, N.Y., Laura Shannon, of Stoystown, Pa., April Walker, of Greensburg, Pa., and Olivia Weinzierl, of Nicktown, Pa.

“Our students were the best ambassadors for Seton Hill and the United States. I was so proud of them,” said Sandrick.

“All in all my experiences in Spain have left me with memories to last a lifetime, and I have a better knowledge of the Mediterranean diet and Spanish cuisine and culture as a result. The experiences I encountered during this trip were above and beyond my wildest dreams, and I plan to make several lifestyle changes after returning home that reflect what I have learned about the Mediterranean diet and Spanish culture. The entire trip was ‘muy bien’ indeed,” said student Jennifer Kot.

“I experienced far more and better things than I would have ever been able to envision in my own head. I have a broader cultural knowledge of the world and a greater respect for humankind. I understand the Mediterranean diet and how it is implement in Spain and how I can implement it in my own life. I realize that life is not merely confined to what is happening here with me, at this time and in this place, but that the world is constantly moving all around me and that in order to be a part of it I need to be open to all that it has to offer. What I have experienced in Spain has only made me want to see and know more about all cultures of the world and the foods that are present with them,” said student Olivia Weinzierl.

Sandrick hopes this M-Term trip can be coordinated every two years.