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International Externship for Age 50+ Student

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

After a successful business career, I enrolled in culinary school to change careers at age 55 and am now getting ready to apply for my externship. Does anyone know of any international programs that accept older students? The ones I've seen mention an upper age limit of 30 - should I inquire anyway to see if they will make an exception?

post #2 of 7

Hey Lia! 


I was an older student when I went to culinary school also. I was all of 42 years of age and my father accused me of having had a  mid-life crisis. (Smile)


If you don't mind PAYING for your experience, there's a vegan bakery in Israel that takes externs ... but it will cost you.


I also found this for Buenos Aires, Argentina:


And here is another paid externship experience for France. The program costs $2985 and externs will get a whopping $585 per month.


In terms of asking for exceptions, I wouldn't. If they specified an upper age limit, there's probably a reason as to why they did this. 


May I ask why you want to do your externship abroad? If you just need an externship, go on-line and look for Harrah's in Laughlin, Nevada and contact their HR. The local food service industry has a desperate shortage of food service personnel because as fast as people get trained up, they get hired away by the restaurants in Vegas. 


Laughlin is a small rural town on the Colorado River just across the bridge from Bullhead City. We have a casino strip down by the river with several resorts ... Harrah's, Colorado Belle, Aquarius, Don Laughlin's, Edgewater, Laughlin River Lodge, Pioneer Hotel, and the Tropicana. 

post #3 of 7

Welcome to ChefTalk.  By all means ask them. But make sure you find out why the limit is 30. 

Could you provide more details on your situation? Where are you located? Why an international externship? What are your eventual goals?

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

I'm currently in Chicago but have traveled to 40+ countries since 1990 for both work and leisure, so I'm most comfortable living a few months at a time in one place and then moving on to explore something else. I've found living in some international cities is more affordable and more pleasant than being in the US so that is my preference going forward.


I'm starting a food/travel business that will enable me to travel within Europe a lot more over the next two years. I spent a long time in Asia and Latin America so I really want to see more of Europe in the next 5-10 years.


Going to culinary school is one step towards learning more about the industry to help prepare for this and doing an international externship will provide well-rounded training and credentials while also improving my language skills.  Right now, CICD's program in France is on my list though I'm looking for other recommendations as well. 

post #5 of 7
I am intrigued ... a food/travel business as in let's eat our way across Italy i.e biking tour between rural locations with stops at noted restaurants ... or a short cooking class in Southern France punctuated with dining out at various restaurants and bistros prior to moving on to another country?

I spent 17 years abroad. Sotheast Asia can be quite affordable along with parts of Africa, the Middle East, and both Central and South America.
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

I'm still refining the concept, but basically it will be a food/travel site for the "prosumer" segment with advanced level cooking classes and food-oriented tours in each city, food festival/gourmet event info, insider guides to food halls/markets/local sources, cooking equipment/supply retailers and special offers/discounts that I negotiate for visitors.  I will launch with 10 cities and continue to add a new set of cities each year, possibly hiring local chefs as "scouts" in each city to help out.


Since there are so many restaurant locator/review sites, I do not plan to include that, though we might feature certain restaurants in each city if they're contributing content for other sections.


I welcome your suggestions as to what content or cities you'd like to see on the site!

post #7 of 7
Originally Posted by Lia9255 View Post

I welcome your suggestions as to what content or cities you'd like to see on the site!

Have you thought about Bangkok, Thailand? They have a great farmers' market and you could go shopping for ingredients like fresh baby corn which you could take back to your kitchen. As a child growing up in Thailand (since my father was in the U.S. military service), our cook made Hainanese chicken which was a dish adapted from early Chinese immigrants who came from the Hainan province in southern China. She basically poached a chicken in hot water with lots of fresh ginger and onions. She'd then immerse the chicken in an ice bath to cool it down. 


On hot summer nights, she'd serve steamed white rice with cold chicken and as a side dish, she'd serve steamed cauliflower that had been tossed with stir fried baby corn and water chestnuts. The fresh corn and water chestnuts were delicious and so much better than the canned varieties that are typically available to most people in the states. The broth that was made from the poached chicken was also served hot and I loved using a Chinese soup spoon to scoop up some rice prior to soaking it in the broth. 


It was a simple meal ... quite delicious ....and this remains one of my favorite comfort foods though I sadly lack a source for fresh baby corn and water chestnuts. 


With its economy in shambles, Athens, Greece might also make a good destination. You could probably find a kitchen to rent at a cheap rate. From a  culinary and cultural perspective, Greek food is also quite distinct ... though it would not be prudent to question the origins of baklava as both the Greeks and the Turks claim this distinction. 

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