Summer: Rutgers- Exploring the Origins of the Mediterranean Diet in Crete Island
Athens, Greece; Chania, Greece (Outgoing Program)
For a detailed description of the program and coursework, please visit the Department of Kinesiology and Health's Study Abroad in Health Lifestyle webpage.
Your Host Country: Greece
The program will take place in Greece, where the Mediterranean lifestyle has been implemented for thousands of years and extensively studied since the first description of the Mediterranean diet in 1950s by Ancel Keys in the context of The Seven Countries Study. Greece is the cradle of Western civilization, and the birth place of democracy, Western philosophy, the Olympic Games, Western literature, historiography, political science, major scientific and mathematical principles, and Western drama, including both tragedy and comedy. In addition, Greece is the home country of Hippocrates, a physician who lived during Greece’s Classical period, and is traditionally regarded as the father of medicine. His famous quote "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food" is the cornerstone of current integrated and lifestyle medicine. Although small, Greece is huge in its cultural and natural diversity, being a cultural crossroad of Europe, Asia, and Africa, and encompassing landscapes that remain incredibly vivid and of unrivaled beauty; the country provides the opportunity to explore numerous cultural sites, over 5,000 islands and islets scattered in the Aegean and Ionian Seas, and mountainous mainland with a breath-taking scenery.
To view the program’s tentative 2017 syllabus, please click here. Please note this is a sample syllabus, all of its content is subject to change.
The program offers a unique opportunity for students to study the Mediterranean diet in its place of origin, along with sustainable food production and consumption patterns, emphasizing on traditional Mediterranean practices. During the 3-week course, some days will be devoted to theoretical lectures and discussion sessions on the scientific and cultural themes of the day combined with workshops, experiential activities or studying. Other days will be devoted entirely to field trips and interactive educational activities, including visits to monumental sites, observation of Cretan lifestyle practices, demonstrations of traditional and modern cultivation and food production procedures and techniques, cooking classes with emphasis on traditional Cretan products, tasting of local Mediterranean recipes, as well as collective sports activities in nature.
For more information on the program from the department of Kinesiology and Health, click here.
For information about study abroad credit transfer, registration, and transcripts please visit the Academics section of our website.
During the first week, the program’s educational activities will take place in Athens, the capital of Greece, one of the world's oldest cities. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state, a centre for the arts, learning and philosophy, and it is widely referred to as the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy, largely because of its cultural and political impact on the European continent and in particular the Romans. In modern times, Athens is a large cosmopolitan metropolis and central to economic, financial, industrial, maritime, political and cultural life in Greece. While in Athens, students will visit monumental sites and archaeological places and traditional food markets and establishments, as well as experience other opportunities that the city has to provide.
The main body of the program will take place in Crete Island, the largest and most populous of Greek islands. Crete Island forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece, while retaining its own local cultural traits. It was once the centre of the Minoan civilization, which is currently regarded as the earliest recorded civilization in Europe. While in Crete Island, students will explore the remnants of the ancient Minoan civilization, as well as learn about landmark studies carried out in the island, as a means to familiarize with the history and evolution of the Cretan diet and lifestyle. The program will focus on the fundamental principles of the Mediterranean diet through lectures regarding its health benefits, and workshops on the production and nutritional properties of wine and olive oil, both fundamental parts of the Cretan diet. In line with the island’s rich food production sector, lectures and educational activities will address the cultivation of citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables and herbs, and the production of honey, traditional dairy products and spirits. Students will also be exposed to the complex concept of food systems and its association with culture, public health, economy and the environment through the example of the agriculture-based diet and economy of Crete Island as well as the characteristics of environmentally friendly and sustainable food production with emphasis on organic agriculture and livestock applications.
Accommodations and Meals
Accommodation and most meals are included in the program’s fees. In Athens, students will stay at a hotel close to the center of the city, while in Crete Island housing will be offered at the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania. In all locations, bedding (sheets, pillows, blankets if necessary) will be provided, although students are welcome to bring their own equipment if they prefer.
Meals will be either offered in the selected accommodations or provided by local establishments as part of the program’s educational activities. If students want to purchase extra foods or snacks, there will be opportunities for them to visit local supermarkets (not included in the program’s cost, as applies to any other personal expenses).
For more information about the Program Cost and additional Non-Billable Expenses for this program, please view the program budget sheet.
For more information about Finances, including information about financial aid and tuition remission, please visit the Finances section of our website.
As part of your preparation to apply for this study abroad program, please familiarize yourself with the Center for Global Education withdrawal policy.
Students are encouraged to start researching scholarship opportunities as early as possible. There are many kinds of scholarships available, with different eligibility requirements and application criteria. To get a sense of what scholarships are available for your program, please download the Scholarships At-A-Glance worksheet, and visit our Scholarship Directory for a comprehensive list of study abroad scholarships.