Amherst, Massachusetts, United States
I am a third year Hospitality & Tourism Management student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. I grew up in a small Fairfield County, Connecticut town. As a child I watched the Travel Channel and Food Network every day, determined to one day be on a show like Samantha Brown’s “Great Hotels” so that I could travel the world while experiencing the wonders of hotels and the cities they are in. While my hometown is your typically plain suburban setting, I was lucky to have a family that allowed me to experience different cultures and develop a love for food and travel. Through my childhood I opened myself to new cuisines and cooking ideas and learned as much as I could about different cultures without traveling much. In high school, both of my parents remarried to wonderful people who brought me a new insight to other cultures. My stepmother is Chinese, and she has given me the opportunity to understand and become a part of the beautiful family-oriented Chinese culture. Every visit to their house is a chance to learn something new whether it is recipes, traditions, or language. One of my stepsisters lives in Israel, and while I was no stranger to Israeli culture I had the chance to travel to Israel and be part of a Persian-Israeli wedding. I learned so much in just a week and being able to go to another country has only inspired me to want to travel more. The world is vast and no matter where you travel you will find something of beauty. I believe that the most beautiful part of travel is the culture you can experience if you embrace it.