Many programs at Auburn University offer some type of study abroad program, but perhaps none of them are as exhilarating and wide ranging as the programs offered by Hotel and Restaurant Management. Nearing the end of their time here, seniors Josh Nagel and Sam Fonte share some of their favorite places, people and moments from a final year dominated by studying near and far.
Since an early age, Nagel and Fonte always wanted to work in restaurants, knowing that one day they would make a living either being an executive chef or as a restaurant or club owner. When they arrived at Auburn, it was clear what major was for them. They did not know however, that over the next few years of studies they would embark on two of the most sought after study abroad trips that the entire university has to offer.
Over one month during the summer of 2010, Nagel, Fonte and ten other Hotel Restaurant Management students went on a gastronomical, or eating and drinking, tour of Europe. They visited Spain, Italy, Austria, Germany, France, The Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland and England, sampling the best of the local food and wine in each country and region. The students completed learning assignments along the way, but by all accounts this was a phenomenal experience.
The students backpacked across Europe utilizing trains, which are the main mode of transportation from country to country in most of Europe. They stayed in hostels and were led by a graduate student as well as Dr. Martin O'neill, the department head who has been on the trip as a guide many times.
Nagel points out his favorite aspect of the Europe trip as the simple fact that the world is your classroom. You are really out there learning about the world in the middle of it, experiencing new things that would never be accessible on the campus. He feels it is an experience everyone should have if they get the opportunity.
As amazing as this trip was, about seven months later both Nagel and Fonte were selected through to take a Certified Specialist of Wine course that was to be held in St. Helena, California in wine country. The course was a week long all inclusive wine training course and was donated in part by the Trinchero Family Winery. Learning about and sampling fine wines was the dominant theme of this trip, and both Nagel and Fonte say it only made them want to know more about wine.
The experiences of these two students is unique, and with the major having only about 250 or so students it is the small class sizes and personal attention that makes it all the more special. Both students wish to pursue careers in the hospitality industry, and while they may not know exactly what tomorrow holds, they know they can count on the experiences gained abroad in helping them with all future endeavors.
For more information concerning study abroad programs offered at Auburn University, please visit Auburn Abroad.