Current MALS student, Elizabeth Robb, writes about her experience in Tuscany:
There are events in life that change you. It may be a big change or a little change but it is a change nonetheless and a part of you has grown or shifted. I knew that I wanted to change and grow when I applied for the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program this summer but I had no idea changes would start occurring so quickly.
I registered for the Sustainable Living and Culture class in Tuscany because who doesn’t want to get graduate credit while sipping wine in Italy? I didn’t realize the great people I would meet and the experiences I would have until they were surrounding me and opening my mind to new ideas. While staying at Spannocchia, we took cooking classes, learned the history of the area and the history of Spannocchia itself, learned about beekeeping, tasted wines, olive oils, honey, and learned all about locally cured meats. We continually focused on how we could bring what we were learning back home with us to create a more sustainable community. I could go on and on about the adventures we had in Italy, the late night discussions or barefoot walks through the tenuta de Spannocchia, and the knowledge that was acquired on this journey, but the most important aspect of the trip was the change that occurred when I returned home.
Leaving Spannocchia was hard but who isn’t ready for their own bed and air conditioning after being away for a little while? I came home ready to write my final paper and move on to my next class. As I worked on my final, I noticed myself heading to local markets to buy my produce because they “just tasted more like Spannocchia produce.” I inquired about my local beekeeping association and made a new friend who let me harvest honey with him in his hives. I cooked, and I didn’t throw things in the microwave because I was more worried about the way my food tasted and not how quickly it was ready. I have been picking up books that deal with ecology and sustainability just to read on my own and to learn more. Spannocchia was my stepping stone to a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle. Sustainable Living was only my second class in the MALS program but it is obvious to me that a person can change and grow in this program and they can have fun while they are doing it!
Check out a few of her photos on the MALS Facebook fan page.