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07/26/2011 01:48 pm ET Updated Sep 25, 2011

'Gelato University' Draws Thousands Of Students From Around The World (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Thousands of students head to Bologna, Italy to the headquarters of Carpigiana, a leading manufacturer of ice cream machines, for lessons in the art of gelato.

While there, students learn the technical side of gelato-making (all in English) as well as how to use basic machines, all for $1,138 per week, the Agence France Presse reports.

A nearby hotel in the small town of Anzola dell'Emilia is home to the school's 12,000 students (up from 9,000 participants last year), who come from as far as Japan and Sierra Leone to learn the fine art.

The school's director, Kaori Ito, told the AFP that ice cream parlors around the world are being increasingly run by non-Italians.
"This is the first year in which the participation of Italians is less than 50 percent. We've added courses in English and French and there's been a real boom in people signing up," he told the AFP.

Luciano Ferrari, one of the school's "professors" told the news agency: "Before it was always the Italian who brought ice cream abroad. Now ice cream is being exported by foreigners who come here and learn and then bring the skills back to their own country."

A young married woman from Dubai, Yasmeena Abdel Ghani, told the AFP that she and her husband were taking a vacation in Italy to learn how to make real Italian ice cream for their guests at home. "I love gelato a lot and my husband has a passion for it. I'm having lots of fun! I think I'm going to do it more in the future. We have a different kind of ice cream. Arabic ice cream is very gummy. They only have vanilla and pistachio," she said.

Check out some photos of the school's international student body below.

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