The August 6th issue of Time Magazine leads with DIS Faculty Lisa Abend’s article focusing on how record numbers of “vacationers are threatening to turn Europe into a theme park” and thereby pushing locals out of the city centers, and how “the continent is pushing back.” Abend identifies the causes for this increase in tourism: from the growth of low-cost airlines and cheaper airfares, to the expanding cruise-ship industry, to Airbnb providing cheaper accommodations, among others. She also highlights what municipal and state governments are doing to deal with increased tourism – such as raising tourist taxes and limiting the number of daily visitors at tourist attractions.
Abend has been with DIS since 2014. She teaches Creative Nonfiction Workshop in the semester, and the summer course Food and Identity, which explores how food and culture shape each other. The class looks at Denmark and Spain as case studies, and specifically dives into how molecular gastronomy and New Nordic cuisines have redefined food culture and national identity in Spain and Denmark, respectively.
Even in these touristy times, it is more important than ever for students to study abroad and gain an in-depth experience of getting to see their host city’s culture alongside locals. Abend makes sure that her students avoid tourist traps by having them meet with and learn from locals while on Field Studies and Study Tours:
For my Food and Identity class, I’ve led Study Tours to Barcelona in the middle of high season, where there are parts of the city that are nearly impassable due to the quantity of tourists. But we try to be good visitors by going beneath the surface to really learn about the local cultures. At the Boqueria market, for example, we not only meet with the director to talk about how the market is trying to preserve its identity in the face of these challenges, but hold a scavenger hunt of sorts in which students have to track down – and purchase – authentic, regional products”
Abend is an American expat living in Denmark. She received a Ph.D. in European History from Harvard University. She spent several years in academia and then became a journalist. Currently, she is a correspondent for Time Magazine. She contributes to other magazines and newspapers, and has written the book, ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentices: A Season in the Kitchen at Ferran Adria’s elBulli.’
Learn more about Abend’s Semester Course
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