The Arcadia University in Philadelphia USA first made contact with Barga in 2014 with 25 students arriving in the city (article here)
They were back the following year in 2015, this time with 32 students (article here)
Today, another thirty students were in Barga and once again, they were studying the concept of food as a cultural icon and signifier.
They were here with their course leader – Andee Sorenson – a connoisseur of all things Tuscan, who’s well read website, Travelingnative.com carries on the front page the following text which pretty much sums up her whole philosophy – “Sustaining the Italian art of enjoyment by connecting you to it.”
Traveling Native is inspired by the way of life in rural Tuscany. It is a form of smart travel, culinary exploration and cultural learning. Travelers, students and artisans become part of Italy’s traditions and artistry. Experiences cultivate peace and wellbeing by broadening perspective and educating the palate.
We see diversity as the essential ingredient for learning and the boundaries between travelers and locals as meeting points for exchange. Our goal is to promote the art of enjoyment, the natural beauty, and the rich cultural heritage of a less-published landscape.
Apart from a brief visit to the obvious places that a visitor to Barga would go to get a feeling for the city – through Barga Vecchia, a brief stop at the unofficial cultural centre of Barga – the Da Aristo bar and then up to the Duomo, the students spent the bulk of their time down in Barga Giardino in the kitchens of the Fratelli Lucchesi where Paolo Lucchesi and his team were on hand to show the students some of the secrets of preparing and baking their prize winning biscuits, cakes and pizzas.
Also present this morning was Ivo Poli, the President of the Associazione Nazionale Città del Castagno and researcher in agricultural biodiversity and ethnobotany who gave a short lecture on the history of chestnuts in this area and on just how important it has been for the area in the recent past and also, according to Ivo, doubly important for the future.
The Arcadia University continues to be number one in the United States in its respective category for study abroad participation, according to the Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange 2013.
Arcadia has earned this recognition based on the percentage of undergraduate students participating in a study abroad experience at a master’s level college or university. Arcadia University has retained its position at the top of this national category for five of the past six years, as determined by the Institute of International Education (IIE) with support from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. – their site is here
The Arcadia Promise: A distinctively global, integrative and personal learning experience that prepares you to contribute and prosper in a diverse and dynamic world.
The Arcadia Promise affirms that students will have a distinctively global, integrative and personal learning experience that prepares them to contribute and prosper in a diverse and dynamic world. The Arcadia Promise sums up the collective experiences of generations of alumni and the collective efforts of the faculty and staff who create Arcadia’s distinguished learning environment. Arcadia students are challenged to achieve their full potential and recognize their ability and responsibility to make choices that affect the future of their world. Whether they pursue an undergraduate, graduate or continuing education path, they are part of a mutually supportive community. Through interactions with faculty, staff and peers representing a diversity of cultural backgrounds, they gain self-confidence and respect for others, learn by using the latest technologies, and acquire essential skills and knowledge that prepare them for a rich and meaningful life.