June 17, 2016

CIA Connections Help Students See the World

CIA Cover Degree


Marit Rubenstein ’15 developed a great fascination for German pastries and bread as a baking and pastry student at The Culinary Institute of America (CIA). That interest has grown during visits with her boyfriend to see his family in Germany on break and more recently as the manager-in-training in the CIA’s Specialty Breads class.

So when she heard about an opportunity to travel to Germany and have it entirely funded through the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX), it really got her attention.

“I was very interested in working in Germany and one of my CIA chefs who was involved in the program had connections, so we worked it out,” Marit says. “I filled out the online application at their website. Out of all the applications they get, they choose 150 to interview; I went to New York City for mine. Then they choose 75 from that group.”

Marit got the good news via e-mail—she would be going to Germany for a year starting in July! “I’m so excited,” she gushes. “It’s a great opportunity to work, study, and travel to a country known for chefs and food. The structure of the program gets you really involved in German culture, and there’s a strong support network over there.”


International Travel Leads to Learning, Friendships


Fellow CIA alumna Megan Pielli ’15, currently in Germany for her CBYX trip, echoes those sentiments.

“My year started out with two months of intensive language training in Köln and four months in Saarbrücken, and now I’m finishing my remaining six months in the small village of Biesingen,” she says. “I am working at an amazing bakery, Bäckerei und Konditorei Fetzer, and learning a ton. This program has not only helped me for my professional career, but has opened my eyes to so much more! I have seen beautiful and amazing places, and met wonderful people who I know will be lifelong friends.”

In addition to the 75 U.S. professionals who travel to Germany, the CBYX exchange program also welcomes 75 young professionals from Germany to this country. Over the years, several CIA graduates have been chosen to participate in the program, underscoring the many opportunities beyond the classroom open to the college’s students and alumni.

 Connections Students


Counter Culture Coffee Scholarship Provides Unique Experience


Kelsey Woodworth, a CIA bachelor’s student in the applied food studies major, enjoyed one such opportunity, traveling to Central America for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to learn all about coffee from the plant to the cup. Kelsey earned the all-expenses-paid trip from Counter Culture Coffee, a Durham, NC-based indie coffee roaster. Joining her in Honduras was Matthew Waldron, operations manager at the college’s Apple Pie Bakery Café.

“The CIA is really good at offering awesome opportunities,” said Kelsey prior to leaving on the trip. “This is a fantastic and generous opportunity—a chance to study abroad and go to places I have never been. I am going to be a human sponge and soak up every part of this beautiful experience.”


Wine Scholarship Takes Students to California, France, and Italy


Ready for her own beautiful experience, CIA student Kirsten Lorditch became one of the latest students to receive the R.C. Kopf Student Achievement Award, which includes $10,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to California, France, and Italy. During the six-week excursion, students visit prestigious wineries, vineyards, and restaurants, as well as suppliers and partners of Kobrand Corporation, an importer and marketer of fine wines and spirits founded by Kopf.

“I had an amazing experience on this trip,” Kirsten says. “I learned so much and am grateful to have earned such an incredible opportunity to see so many great wine-growing regions.” The R.C. Kopf Foundation selects two CIA students each year for this extraordinary scholarship.


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Travel Programs—and the CIA—Change Lives


And these are just a few of the many opportunities available for CIA students and grads to see the world. As Marit prepares for her upcoming German adventure, she credits the college with giving her the chance to take this dream trip. “It’s great to be in a community so focused on food,” she says. “It’s like living in a town where everyone has the same job as you. So you’re bound to hear about new opportunities and information.”

While she’s sorry to be leaving the college she loves, Marit is very excited for what’s to come. “I feel really lucky. It’s definitely life-changing.”