2016 Winter Session in London: Sociology of Food
Join award-winning professor Dr. Debra Street in London to explore how food and water shape both everyday and exotic experiences in the modern world. Sociology of Food (SOC 358) will use a sociological lens and systematic study to understand food and water, which are often taken-for-granted parts of daily life. Sociological theory and research provide new insights into the ways that globalization has changed how people and societies produce, consume, and dispose of food, and why the future of food and water security have become such a critical area of study. No human endeavor is untouched by the necessity of food and water for survival. We will take advantage of existing opportunities and as-yet unannounced exhibits and events to explore food themes in London.
Student Essays on their Winter Session Study Abroad Experiences
“Normally, I would have spent my December holidays meeting friends or playing games. This year, I signed up for UB Winter Study Abroad London and it was one of the best choices I could have made. London is full of different activities which you can engage in. During the few weeks, I managed to visit many museums, palaces and musicals, many of these are places which I would not have experienced if I were to go on a leisure trip.
One of the major events that baited me was the Light Festival in London, also known as the Lumiere, where streets are decorated using “light” or illuminated objects and these decorations come in the form of architecture or animation. Another event that is exclusive to the winter program is the opportunity to do the New Year countdown in a foreign country. For me, I went to the top of a hill to watch fireworks with a few of the other students. The hardest part of the course is to resist the temptation to get out of your dorm and enjoy every moment in London. The best advice that I could give is to start planning for your course work as soon as you receive your course syllabus and weave in any activities or events alongside your academic requirements.
For someone who is living in Singapore, where it is summer all year round, being able to experience winter is also a different form of exposure. The clothes I wear and the facilities which I used are also different. Instead of randomly picking a set of clothes from the wardrobe, I had to check the weather forecast and plan how many layers I have to wear to ensure that I will be kept warm. The use of a heater inside our own room is something I am very foreign to.
Not only were the experiences important, but also the people you get to meet and interact with during the London winter session program is another reason to participate. During the program, I made friends with other students from the UB home campus. We get to learn together and experience firsthand how differently we live our everyday lives.
Even though the Winter Study Abroad program lasted for only three weeks, it was a great experience.”
“I have been planning to study abroad since I was a freshman. However, it was not until my senior year when I studied abroad in London that I realized study abroad is even more meaningful and exciting than I expected.
Study abroad is different from international travelling, because it is not a simple long sightseeing trip. It provides you a chance to immerse in a different culture and live in a foreign city like a local resident. The program helps you feel, know, and understand the culture by offering different locations of study. Your classroom is no longer limited to a lecture hall, and you may study in a museum or an outdoor market. When you need to study human relationships in the society, you don’t need to cram the knowledge in the textbook; you go to the street and observe person-to-person interactions instead. The variety of locations and content make study abroad a mind-opening experience.
I chose the winter sociology of food in London program because it allowed me to take advantage of winter break to visit one of the most famous cities in the world. Even though sociology is not my major, this program still helps me in preparing for my future profession as a physician as it has challenged and changed my old way of thinking and seeing. There are hundreds of programs offered by UB and the SUNY study abroad system, and there must be at least one program that fits your educational and/or professional goals. Study abroad is one of the best experiences I had during my undergraduate education, and I believe every student needs to take this wonderful chance to see and explore the world.”
“Because my school semesters are full of courses required for my curriculum, I never expected to be able to study abroad and graduate on schedule. An exciting opportunity opened up for me when I learned that I could study abroad during a winter session. I took a sociology course that I would never have been able to fit into my regular semester schedule, and taking it while abroad gave us a whole new perspective as students of the world. Learning about a new subject in a new culture challenged me to grow intellectually and personally. I could see my own discipline and my own culture in a new light, and learned more about myself than I could have expected.
I had always wanted to go to London, and to be able to travel there independently was an exciting experience. I was able to explore the city and surrounding areas on my own, and with new friends. The people I studied with were people from different disciplines and even different continents. Learning and having adventures with them was a once in a lifetime experience that I will always treasure.”
Halijah Binte Omar
“This winter abroad program to London has definitely enriched and provided me with so many unforgettable bittersweet memories. It allowed me to have first-hand experience in living abroad as well as provided me with the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills that not only can be found inside of the classroom. We stayed for three weeks in London, and we not only got to visit the places of interests, museums and historical sites, but we managed to check out many cool and interesting places such as the Warner Brother’s Harry Potter Studio, Primrose Hill, having a traditional British breakfast at a rustic pub, exploring Borough Market and many more.
During our study abroad program, we get to observe the cultural practices of the Brits, particularly in dining, culinary, food habits and such. Since we were taking the Sociology of Food module, we explored the food practices, food choices, food origins etc., but were not limited to it. We even visited the Museum of Branding and Advertisement, exhibitions that showcased the historical times of England and learned how food was one of the main connectors, reasons and/or influence for various phenomena.
Although it is a study abroad program, we were not restricted in the confinement of the requirement of our module. After classroom hours, we visited the Borough Market, explored the wonderful city of Central London and watched theatrical performances at night. We even visited Winter Wonderland and got to ride on the breathtaking rides, which literally blew us away. It was a memorable trip indeed, as we got to connect with the students from UB Buffalo, as well as the wonderful people in London who were exceptionally warm and friendly towards us. The atmosphere in London was worthwhile and unforgettable, something that I held close to my heart. It widened my perspective on cultural practices by allowing me to look beyond that what the eyes can see. This study abroad program has definitely enticed me to fly back to London to learn, experience and explore many more exciting places that I’ve yet to discover!”
“Studying abroad is an awe-inspiring experience that I can’t even begin to explain my appreciation and excitement for. When I started looking for a program, I was overwhelmed with choice, and the decision to go to London was not an easy one to make. But my intentions were always the same: to find a program where I could branch out, meet new people and explore a place I’d never be able to travel to without the help of UB.
London was exactly what I was looking for. The diversity of the city, combined with its fast pace and history is like nowhere I’d ever been before. I strongly believe that you have to deeply, honestly, commit to whatever it is you’re doing, and I did this while in London. I picked up slang, I learned how to use public transportation, and I fell deeply in love with my new city. When I was there, I saw or learned something new every single day. This is an experience you really can’t get at home. Every culture that I witnessed was authentic, from the clothes to the languages to cuisines. This is what made it easy to immerse myself in the city, because it was all so real. The benefits of studying abroad will affect me for the rest of my life. I met people and saw things I’ll never forget. Seeing things from the perspective of a student in another country changes how you see the world. You become more mature and worldly, and you truly learn how to be an adult. I recommend this program, and every other study abroad program to everyone I meet. It will change you.”
“It has been a personal dream of mine to study abroad in London, England. Although the price tag was a lot more than I could afford, I did not want that to stop me from following my dreams and gaining the learning experience that a textbook couldn’t give me. I have always been drawn to London because of its rich history and beautiful scenery. I thought to myself, “Why not take my last Sociology elective in the city of my dreams?” Due to the fact that I am a fifth-year undergraduate senior and I will be graduating in May, I decided to take a chance and apply for the Winter 2016 Study Abroad Session.
My study abroad experience was the best thing that ever happened to me. I have done things that I would have never dreamed of doing, including touring inside royal palaces and castles to learning about England’s rich history in historic museums. How many people can say that they have been inside Queen Elizabeth’s weekend castle, seen the crown jewels, and have had afternoon tea at the Kensington Palace where Prince William and Kate reside? Up until now, I never quite understood the power of learning in another country. You can make the experience your own and you will get out of it what you put into it.
The only regret I have is not studying abroad for a full semester session. However, I loved the Winter Session because it was more affordable for me and it gave me just enough time to enjoy an amazing experience. I made a list of everything I hoped to accomplish while I was there and I was able to do everything and more. I also like that the Winter Session did not interfere with my class schedule so that I stayed on track to graduate. Overall, I think studying abroad is something that students should take advantage of. I know that I procrastinated the experience because of financial reasons, but now that I have had this experience, I realize that it was worth every penny and nothing compares to it. I would do anything to study abroad again and life is too short not to follow your dreams. My love for traveling and education has been enhanced and I can happily say that traveling to other countries will not end after my graduation ceremony.”