Anja Popey ’22 investigates impact of cuisine on Italian culture through Magellan Project

Created: September 24, 2019
Last Updated: December 2, 2019

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WASHINGTON, PA (Sept. 24, 2019)—At Washington & Jefferson College (W&J), there’s so much to explore outside of your major, and there are plenty of opportunities to investigate all your passions—just ask Anja Popey ’22.

The sophomore chemistry and economics major took advantage of W&J’s signature program, The Magellan Project, to learn more about culture and cuisine in Italy.

“I’ve always had a great appreciation of food—especially Italian food—and I was extremely interested in how it affects daily life,” Anja said.

She made stops in Naples, Rome, Florence, Milan, Venice, Pisa, Cinque Terre and Bologna where she talked with locals, restaurant owners, and fellow travelers to learn more about the local culture surrounding food.

“I am extremely happy that I was able to study cuisine so in-depth with the help of funds provided by my school,” Anja said. “I’ve learned from studying cuisine in Italy that food is a very integral part of just general living in Italy and is extremely emphasized especially in large families. Furthermore, I realized that each city really does pride itself on specific dishes and they really try to perfect each dish.”

The experience helped Anja improve her communication skills and feel more confident as an independent traveler.

“I’ve learned to listen and communicate better with people as well as to be excited about experiencing and learning new things,” she said. “Since I want to be a doctor, these are both very important skills as it’s what I will constantly be doing.”

The support of W&J faculty helped Anja reach a point where she felt comfortable and prepared to take on her project. She cites seminars held by W&J Professor of English and Magellan Project Coordinator Dana Shiller, Ph.D., as a great help on her journey. 

The experience gave Anja an interest in completing a semester abroad or even practicing medicine internationally in the future. 

Learn more about Anja’s experience through her Magellan Project blog.

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