Dr. Kurt Rosentrater
Dr. Kurt Rosentrater, Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering and the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition has been leading the Cathedrals, Castles, Culture & Cuisine: Sustainable, Safe & Nutritious Food in France travel course since 2014.
- Why do you lead programs?
- I love discovering new cultures, geographies, and places in the world. Helping students gain an appreciation for both similarities as well as differences between cultures, histories, ad perspectives, and helping them gain confidence in their abilities to navigate and become comfortable with a new place is extremely rewarding. Really, it is all about becoming global citizens, and becoming aware of not only ourselves, but others in the world.
- What would you say to faculty that are considering leading a program?
- For me, it is absolutely worth the investment of time and energy. I am constantly learning new things about students, their perspectives, as well as Paris itself...the history, the culture, and the people. There is always something interesting around the next corner! Every year our program evolves, which means reworking the logistics. We take public transportation while in Paris. Advice that I can give to faculty considering leading a program: make sure to understand the logistics and timings to travel between places in your specific country/city. These may change due to changing itineraries or due to strikes, for example, so always have a Plan B and a Plan C.
- What have you learned by leading programs?
- I continue to learn about student perspectives.I continue to learn about Paris and France. But I also continue to learn about myself as well. I feel very fortunate that I can lead these types of programs, because I try to incorporate things that I learn in France into my classrooms back on the ISU campus. I think that providing a broader perspective enriches what I am able to teach.
- What has been most memorable about leading a program?
- Seeing students evolve and come out of their comfort zones. For example, it is amazing when students try to speak basic French to communicate with people in Paris, and within a very short time, they are gaining confidence and becoming comfortable doing so. This is also true in terms of navigating street maps as well as the Paris Metro. It is amazing how people can rise to the challenge! We aren’t in Iowa anymore, and by and large students are willing to play the game and grow as people.
- What do you like to do in your free time?
- Either explore new museums that I have not yet seen before (there are ~100 in Paris), explore new cathedrals (again, ~ 100 in Paris alone), or spend a quiet, relaxing afternoon by the Grand Canal at Versailles Gardens soaking in the sun.
- Is there a place that you would like to lead a program, but haven’t?
- Armenia - its a place that most Americans will never see, but it a land full of beauty!
- Why should students study abroad?
- Expanding your horizons means more than exploring a new place and learning about its history and culture. It also means learning about yourself and how you relate to other people.
- How would you encourage students to study abroad?
- ISU students are really fortunate to have so many opportunities for success. Study abroad programs are one of these opportunities. Gaining a new perspective on yourself, your culture, and your country is one of the most eye-opening experiences that a person can have. And one that can impact you for the rest of your life.