Blog

San Diego Culinary Student Finishes Externship in Umbria, Italy

By: The Art Institutes

December 20, 2016

Vanessa Paleo, who is working toward a Bachelor of Science in Culinary Management at The Art Institute of California—San Diego, a campus of Argosy University, recently completed an externship class in Umbria, Italy with the Universita del Sapori (UDS).   
Upon her return, Vanessa talked about her experience:
 
What made you want to go to Italy?
I wanted to have a different experience in my life and I’ve always loved Italian food so it seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to go off in the world and experience something new. Since The Art Institutes have a partnership with UDS, I was able to earn credit for my externship class through the school.
 
What was the best part of your experience?
I was able to grow as a person; meet great people and create friendships that I am sure will last forever. Professionally, I learned to work in a team and experienced the pace of a kitchen. This was my first industry experience. I was surprised that I was able to work such long hours doing what I love and it didn’t feel like “work.”
 
Do you have a recipe to share from your experience?
Yes, Pasta Alla Norcina (This is the capital of an Italian City). This is a simple and very basic Italian dish. First you cook the pasta. In a separate pot, you sauté Italian sausage, leave the fat in the pot, add heavy cream and let simmer until the sauce thickens. Then add pasta, stir, and serve. It is simple, delicious and decadent.
 
What is dvice for other students who are considering this opportunity?
Follow your dreams even if they seem crazy. Whenever you feel like things are getting too hard and you want to quit, fight harder. This will make your accomplishments count more.
When I was in Italy, I tried to travel but I did work 6 days a week. The school set me up with a job working for a restaurant connected to a hotel: NUN Assisi Relais and SPA Museum.  On my one day off I would travel to Rome, Florence and Pizza. I also visited a few small cities. My favorite was Florence by far. The food was incredible, the view was spectacular, and the people were extremely friendly.
 
My first language is Spanish and I knew a little Italian before I arrived. The adjustment was difficult and I was easily frustrated at first when I couldn’t express myself. After a few months of immersion, I learned how to communicate and have conversations. This improved my experience and I was so proud of myself that I eventually could argue in Italian. The last month was really hard because my grandmother passed away and I had a very close relationship with her. I didn’t think I would be able to pull through, but concentrating on work gave me comfort and focus. After I graduate, I plan on returning to Italy to visit and would consider going back to do another internship. I would encourage my fellow culinary peers at The Art Institute of California—San Diego to travel abroad, immerse yourself in another culture, and experience what life is like in a kitchen outside of the United States.

See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/368 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

Vanessa Paelo

By: The Art Institutes

December 20, 2016