Julianna Sweeney, an Animal Bioscience major, spent her winter break immersed in different cultures, soaking up knowledge to further her career goals of becoming a veterinarian. The junior midfielder from Stroudsburg, Pa. spent ten days exploring Italy as part of the ‘Human and Animal Interactions’ study abroad trip. Activities ranged from visiting dairy farms and engaging with veterinary university staff to helping at a foreign animal shelter. Julianna shared her favorite parts of the trip with us below.
What did your trip consist of?
“I traveled to Italy for ten days. In those packed ten days, we visited Milan, Verona, Venice, Parma, Bologna, Florence and Rome. The entire purpose of the trip was to study how human and animal interactions and opinions vary in a different culture. It was super eye-opening and I had a great time!”
What was the best place you visited?
“My favorite place along the trip was Verona, the whole city was decorated for Christmas time and the river ran right through the mountains, it was so pretty!”
You made a lot of stops, what was your favorite educational experience on the tour?
“My favorite educational trip was getting to see the dairy cows that produce milk that ends up being made into parmesan cheese. Cows are really curious so it was fun to see how they reacted to us humans.”
What were some other fun stops you made experiencing the culture?
“We got to do all of the touristy things in each city which was a great experience. We took a gondola ride and visited Doge’s Palace in Venice. We visited the coliseum, Trevi fountain, and the Pantheon in Rome, Juliette’s Balcony in Verona and a winery in Florence. It was definitely a busy trip!”
What is one thing you learned that was new or interesting to you?
“I learned that the pigs that are specifically used to produce prosciutto are on a special diet, part of that diet consists of whey protein that is a byproduct of the parmesan cheese making process.”
Did you try any new foods on the trip, if so what was your favorite?
“I did not try any new foods because when you’re in Italy, the diet consists mainly of carbs in various forms of pasta. That being said, it was the best pasta I’ve ever had in my life!”
How do you think the experiences gained on this trip will help your future career plans?
“I think it’s really important to be able to relate to, and connect with, people of all different backgrounds. Being able to see how cultural identity can play into beliefs and actions about not only animals, but life, is really important to make sure I’m understanding and empathic as a professional in my future career endeavors.”