Going Abroad as a Vegetarian

Authored by:
Zoie S.

Zoie S.

When traveling overseas, it might be challenging to find vegetarian restaurants. I've been a vegetarian for five years, during which time I studied abroad in four foreign countries. The first time for a semester in Seville, Spain, and the second time with the open campus program in Rome, London, and Copenhagen. Both times, CIEE provided support. Living with a host family in Seville was more challenging because vegetarianism often means different things to different cultures or individuals. I would suggest including information about your dietary constraints and how you define vegetarianism in your application.  Some families may not have had a vegan or vegetarian in their household and may unknowingly prepare food that you wouldn't feel comfortable eating. For instance, my Spanish host family thought that I was willing to eat fish and other seafood. In order for your host family and CIEE to understand what you are comfortable with, it is crucial that you speak with them about your constraints ahead of time.

CIEE was very careful in making sure there were vegan and vegetarian options accessible for me in the block program. I slept in a dorm in Rome that served breakfast and dinner on weekdays. I was able to explain my restrictions to the staff and they made a special dinner for me that complied with my needs. I've never visited places that are more vegan-friendly than Copenhagen and London. Every restaurant I visited at the time provided a variety of alternatives for me as a vegan. Additionally, I was given vegan options at all of the CIEE study center's events in both cities. The employees in Copenhagen organized a program called "Dinner with a Dane'' where they matched you with a family that would host you for dinner and talk with you about your culture and city. I was able to have dinner with a vegan host family for the evening thanks to the assistance of the CIEE personnel.

When traveling abroad as a vegan or vegetarian, I would stress the need for communication, both with your program and your host family. To ensure that they are aware while preparing to host you on their campus or place you with a host family, be sure to note in the application that you are a vegetarian, or have diet restrictions. Pro tip: research how to say “I am a vegetarian” in the host country's language!

Food Recommendations 

Rome : Rossopomodoro, Tonnarello Scala, Pizza 2000 in Venice

London: Pret, Borough Market

Copenhagen: Any hot dog stands on the street, almost all have vegan options, Reffen Market, POPL Burger, Gasoline Grill, Kebabery

Prague: Pho bar, Ezra’s bagels, Dim sum spot, Bakeshop, Pokehaus, Lokai, Food truck point

Sevilla: Filo

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