Georgia has received increasing attention in tourism and food circles over the past several years as the wider world finally discovers a truely original gem of culinary art and natural beauty. Its allure has always been strong with our students and graduates. Georgian food has long been known in all SRAS locations. Anyone who spends extended time in these locations inevitably develop a fondness for Georgian food and a curiosity about the country and its people. If you are still “uninitiated,” you might try browsing the extensive resources we’ve built up on Georgian food, culture, nutrition, and language at Folkways, part of the SRAS Family of Sites.
While tourism and cultural awareness are growing, Georgia itself has not grown into a major destination for the individual student. Very few traditional study abroad programs operate there as study of the language does not provide a base of foreign students. That being said, the region is very attractive for custom faculty-led programming and SRAS has seen a slowly increasing number of such groups visiting either Georgia or the Caucasus more broadly (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia).
Custom Faculty-Led Programs
Food and wine culture is perhaps the most obvious reason to spend time in the Caucasus. Regardless of the central theme of your program, food can play a role from the functional (we need to eat and why not indulge in this paradise) to a feature central to the study of identity. The region is also a place of tremendous natural beauty and with so much time spent eating, it is only logical to incorporate hiking and other forms of active learning.
Yes, this may all sound more like a vacation, but it is also high impact experiential learning. Topics to be explored in great depth in Georgia and the Caucasus as a whole include the following:
- Food and wine culture, foodways, nutrition
- Conflict studies
- Tourism & Hospitality
Underlying these topics are the history, geography, politics, and culture of the region. For more on these issues, you might see our Georgia-related resources on Geohistory, also part of the SRAS Family of Sites.
For inspiration on what your students could do in Georgia, see the sample itineraries on our site. They can be done as-is or used as a basis for building something focused more specifically on your class content. SRAS can also design a completely custom course for you.
In this podcast, Michael Denner (Stetson University), Renee Stillings (SRAS), and Gela Turabelidze (NovaMova Language School) discuss the allure and the intensive experience that is Georgia.