Daily Life

Thoughts About Abroad

At my school, it is required of all Business students and highly recommended of all students in general to study abroad in their junior year of college. This being said, it is no surprise when you come back to classes in the fall and there are about no juniors to be seen on campus. In about a year or so I will see myself at that point where I will be applying for several study abroad programs. While many of my friends have no clue where they want to study abroad, I know exactly where I will be.
Italy??!!! Why would I go somewhere known for it’s pasta, pastries, and in general glutenous foods?? I’ll tell you why…
I’ve always wanted to go to Italy, and when I became gluten free I figured that if I ever made it to Italy, I wouldn’t get to experience the food and would be eating granola bars out of my luggage through the trip.
I was seriously mistaken.
After randomly google-ing “gluten free in Italy” out of mere curiosity, I found dozens of blog posts written by celiacs who had not only made it through Italy eating gluten free- they recommended it as being the dream place for a celiac to travel! Here’s why–
According to the Gluten Free Girl, all you have to do is say “Io sono celiaco” and everyone will know exactly what you mean and what you need from them. In the United States when you tell someone that you are a celiac it will usually result in them looking at you with a blank expression, with no idea what it means to be gluten free or what being a celiac even is. In Italy, everyone is tested for celiac’s disease at a young age (sort of like how we are given flu shots here). About 1 out of 133 people have gluten intolerance of some sort which restaurant owners and chefs are aware of and conscious of, meaning about any restaurant you go into in Italy will be able to cook you a 100% delicious gluten free meal. No explanations, no stress, nothing. Just order anything “senza glutine” and you are in for an amazing meal.

If you aren’t already convinced, adults in Italy diagnosed with Celiac Disease are given two days off a month with pay (!!) to purchase and cook gluten free food. What is wrong with this picture America??!!
The Gluten Free Girl reports that she was able to get gelato with gluten free cones (there was dairy free as well!), chocolate croissants, and apparently the best coffee she has ever had (and she is a Seattle-ite). I think I just need to go to school there for as long as possible and meet some cute Italian boy and marry him just so I can live gluten free without all the trouble. Oh, and I guess it would be pretty cool having a foreign husband too.
When (not if!) I go to Italy, I’m only afraid that I will not be able to come back to the United States where it is SO hard to eat safely, having to endure long explanations, apologies, or weird looks. I think I will cry when it comes time to leave the gluten free heaven that is Italy.