ISA Custom Program Managers’ Food Experiences Abroad

Get to know some of the Custom Programs team a little better with their travel stories as told through their best food experiences abroad. Maybe you’ll even get inspired to try a local specialty on your next Custom Program!


Diego Di Iorio,
Custom Program Manager for Italy

Midie (mussels) in Istanbul
While in Istanbul, a local friend told us we needed to try the mussels. So, as we were walking, we found a man on the street with a large pot of mussels propped up on the box. We were just about to purchase several dozen when suddenly, he folded up the box and ran away with his pot. Apparently, he noticed the police coming and he didn’t have a permit to sell food. Despite this, we ended up buying mussels from another food stand down the street. The mussels were served with rice, spices, and lemon, and we ate them straight from the shells. The next day, our tour guide mentioned to avoid eating mussels from local vendors because they are often unsanitary and can spread typhoid. Oops.


Stephanie Keinz,
Custom Program Manager for France, Belgium, Czech Republic & Germany

French pastries from a local boulangerie
I have a notorious sweet tooth and was more than excited to sample the local fare (read: SWEETS) during my study abroad program in France. Needless to say, French pastries are beyond godly. Croissants, crêpes, macarons, petits fours, you name it! They are significantly more flaky and all-around more tasty than their American counterparts from Starbucks and the like. I made a habit of stopping at the local boulangerie almost every morning on my walk to class to pick up my delectable breakfast and again on my way home for my dinner baguette. By the end of my stay, the owner knew me by name! When I returned to the states, I assumed my quest to find the best bakery in town with some luck, but it’s not quite the same.


Deanna Hendrickson,
Custom Program Manager for Argentina, Chile & Peru

Fried pig snout tapas in Spain
While studying in Salamanca, Spain, I went out for tapas with one of my roommates. She took me to her favorite place that had one of her favorite tapas, fried pig snout. Her enthusiasm was enough to motivate me to try it. The taste was not terrible, but the chewy texture was not exactly enjoyable.Try anything once!


Courtney Hilton,
Custom Program Manager for China, India, Japan, Jordan, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea & Thailand 

Homemade beef in Argentina 
By far my most memorable meal was in Salta, Argentina. I was embarking on a full day horseback riding adventure hosted out of a real live gaucho’s home. Once I arrived, I was greeted with a surprise lunch of the most amazing beef and wine anyone has ever had in their entire existence. Phenomenal.


Get in touch with our Custom Programs department to start developing your own faculty-led study abroad program and make those dreams of your own unique food and culture experiences a reality!