The world slowly begins to feel normal again in a small town in Italy as the streets come back to life with the return of American students. Over the summer, OU Nightly reporter Jessie Klinger had the opportunity to be one of the first students to return to OU’s Italian campus and enjoy staying in the Rooney Family Center.
After a year and a half, the return of American students brings back life into the town of Arezzo, Italy. Over the summer, a group of 22 students from the University of Oklahoma marked the school’s first study abroad program since the COVID-19 pandemic began. At the center of the students’ experience is Chef Fabio, providing them with a taste of Italian culture and a crash course in pasta making.
“Chef Fabio did a pasta making lesson for us and he was really fun about it, and he taught us little tips and tricks,” said OU student Bella Zaidle. “He even said ‘it didn’t matter how it looked, just like women, as long as they’re good it’s okay.”
“My favorite part of cooking at the monastery is seeing passion in the students. And I enjoy working with the students to continue the Italian tradition,” said Chef Fabio Raiola.
For years here in Arezzo, students have described Chef Fabio to be the highlight of their study abroad experience. From breakfast to pasta-making, he has truly has a positive impact on all students who come through the Rooney Family Center.
“Besides the pasta making, Chef Fabio has been great,” said OU in Arezzo student Mason Wenzel. “The breakfast every morning is always really good. You can tell he really loves his job and that makes us all really happy to be here.”
As study abroad programs resume in Arezzo this fall, Chef Fabio looks forward to returning to creating memorable and authentic Italian experiences that OU students will remember forever.