New 2019 Course Announced

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 three components:

  1. Fundamentals of sustainability and environmental policy-making in modern Europe (online prior to trip and at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France);
  2. Addressing Europe’s wicked sustainability challenges and the roles for civil society (Italy, Hungary and the Czech Republic); and
  3. Making urban transport sustainable, with a focus on 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 forms, and contemporary nature of European cities shape human behavior​ and advance and challenge long-term sustainability.

Steel Mill in the Czech Republic

After meeting in Prague, the group will travel to the city of Ostrava, Czech Republic to examine 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 (Ticino), Switzerland will be the next stop, serving as a base for exploring sustainability in that region. 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.

Expect shared accommodations, often in hostels. We work hard to find clean, safe and convenient places to stay in each city, but they will not be fancy. Most of our meals will be communal, and we will give you stipends to go off in small groups for others. For part of the course, students will also be based at VT’s Steger Center in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland.

Hungarian Parliament in Budapest


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 ~ $1,150 to $7,200*
  • Round trip airline ticket ~ $800 to $1,600
  • Passport and visa fees ~ $0 to $110**
  • Books and supplies ~ $50
  • Virginia Tech application and study abroad fees: $50 each ($100 total)
  • 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: 

The application deadline is 31st January, 2019.

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

For more information, please review this program​ info sheet (PDF). Please also feel free to contact the faculty leads:

Please also see the FAQ/Q&A and Faculty pages.