NEW 2017 course announced for VT and UVA students!

Join us for a once-in-a-lifetime journey to explore planning and policy-making in contemporary Europe. We will meet policy-makers and other stakeholders, examine some of Europe’s most pressing challenges and innovative solutions, and see a variety of cities through the eyes of locals. This three or six credit study abroad program has four components:

  1. Fundamentals of sustainability and environmental policy-making in modern Europe (online prior to trip and France);
  2. Addressing Europe’s wicked sustainability challenges and the roles for civil society (Italy, Hungary and the Czech Republic);
  3. Water resource management: the sustainable management and provision of this critical resource (Italy and Switzerland);
  4. Making urban transport sustainable: How European cities promote walking, cycling, and public transport (Germany and Switzerland).

The trip will afford multiple opportunities to explore how the unique histories, urban form, and current activities of European cities shape human behavior, and advance and challenge long-term sustainability. After meeting in Prague, the group will start in the city of Ostrava, Czech Republic, examining a challenging case study that involves environmental, economic and cultural dimensions. The group will then head to Budapest, Hungary and visit a couple of organizations to get a sense of how environmental policy is shaping an expanding Europe, the roles of civil society, and learn about Europe’s ‘refugee crisis’. The next stop will be Venice, Italy, with a focus on the multi-billion dollar MOSE project constructed to tackle acute flooding. Virginia Tech’s Steger Center in Riva San Vitale (Ticcino), Switzerland will be the next stop, serving as a base for exploring sustainability in that region. Lectures and discussions will focus on water resource management. Water will remain the topic as the group moves to Zurich, Switzerland. In Strasbourg, France the group will visit the European Parliament and meet with local policy makers to discuss sustainable transport. The last stop will be Freiburg, Germany to examine its state-of-the-art cycling, walking, and public transport infrastructure.


The program fee, which we estimate will be $4,300, covers accommodations; most meals; transportation costs within Europe; tours and site visits that are officially part of the program; CISI travel insurance; and administrative costs.

In addition, students will be charged summer tuition, and are expected to cover their travel to and from Europe and other (individual) expenses. A very rough estimate is:

Tuition fees ~ $1,099.25 to $5,764.50*

Round trip airline ticket ~ $1,200 to $1,600

Passport and visa fees ~ $0 to $110**

Books and supplies ~ $50

Personal expenses ~ $400***

* Depending on registration for 3 or 6 credits, grad or undergrad and whether or not a VA resident. Subject to Registrar’s Office policies.

**  Depending on citizenship and whether or not you already have a valid passport.

*** Depending on individual travel (outside course), souvenirs, and other items.

Applications are accepted via the Global Education Office’s system: 

Education abroad financial aid may be available for Virginia Tech students. Contact Virginia Tech’s Global Education Office and/or your department for more information:

For more information, please see the FAQ/Q&A and Faculty pages. You may also want to download the course brochure.