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Spring Semester

Combining Theory and Practice



At a glance: 
When: January - April
18 Credits
4 months in Europe & optional 10-day trip to Africa



  • Based in Lugano, Switzerland, located in Canton Ticino, the only Italian-speaking canton in Switzerland.

  • Take classes from Virginia Tech professors at a local university and live at the Montarina Hostel, rated in a Washington Post article as one of the 8 top youth hostels in the world. 

  • Enjoy each weekend and 3 one-week breaks exploring the surrounding areas of Europe. Lugano is on a major rail line between Italy and the rest of Europe, allowing you to reach many wonderful cities in just a few hours.

  • During your last break, you have the opportunity to participate in an experiential learning project in Ethiopia or Rwanda.  Your project will depend on the needs of our non-profit partner organizations in Africa. Students collaborate with local schools to develop and implement curricula in areas such as:

ESL (English as a second language)

Cultural exchange discussions

Basic computer skills

US culture

Professional development


Program details


18 Credits

  • Consumer behavior (MKTG 4204, 3 credits)

  • Marketing research (MKTG 4154, 3 credits)

  • Marketing, society, and the public interest (MKTG 4644, 3 credits)

  • Field practicum (MKTG 4404, 3 credits)

  • Elementary Italian (ITAL 1105, 3 credits)

  • Study abroad (MKTG 3954, 3 credits)

You will also complete a semester long project that involves creating a real-world business venture and plan for our partners in Africa.

Classes are taken at Franklin University where you are taught by Virginia Tech professors.


Tuition and Fees (2020-2021 rates)

  • In-state: $5,080

  • Out-of-state: $12,405

  • Global Education Office fee: $100

Program Costs

  • Program fee: $2,500

  • Transportation total: $2,400

    • Includes: Airfare and Eurail Pass ​

  • Lodging/Meals: $6,100

  • Medical Insurance: $120


Estimated Out-of-Pocket Costs​

  • Books/Supplies: $200

  • Travel/Personal Expenses: $5,000


In-state student TOTAL: $21,500

Out-of-state student TOTAL: $28,825

Only about $5500 more than a semester on campus for the experience of a lifetime!


Note:  Prices may change due to global economic conditions.



What is the difference between the Fall and Spring semesters?​​


  • September - December

  • 21 Credits

  • 4 weeks in Africa

  • 8 weekends in Europe to travel

  • Open to all majors and all years


  • January - April

  • 18 Credits

  • Optional 10 days in Africa

  • Three one-week breaks to travel

  • Primarily business majors from all years


  • Do I need to contact the embassy in the countries where we are staying?


  • Who should I contact in case of an emergency while we are abroad?

    • You should contact the local coordinator or faculty member living with you.  You will be given their local and US-based numbers before you leave.

  • How much should I budget for traveling and personal expenses?

    • We recommend budgeting $2000 for travel (flights, hostels, etc.) and $3000 for personal expenses (food, entrance fees to sites, souvenirs, etc.). Students can spend more or less depending on their budget and spending habits.


  • Which airport does the group depart from when traveling from the US to Europe?

    • The group flight departs from Washington Dulles International Airport.

  • Which meals are covered at the Montarina?

    • The Montarina provides dinner Monday-Thursday night.  Breakfast and lunch are not provided during our stay, but you will have access to a refrigerator, stove/oven, microwave, and cooking/eating utensils.

  • Do I need to bring my own sheets and towels?

    • Sheets and towels are provided by the Montarina.  You might want to bring your lightweight towel for your travels.

  • How will I do my laundry?

    • The Montarina provides laundry service twice a week. All clothes are washed on hot and dried on high, so expect your clothes to shrink. There is a small, coin-operated washer and dryer in the Montarina for clothing items that require special care.

  • Will I have internet access at the Montarina?

    • Yes, the Montarina has wireless internet.  


  • Can I get my books shipped to the Montarina?

    • Yes.  Books can be shipped to:


Your Name

c/o David Brinberg

Montarina Hostel

via Montarina 1

CH-6900 Lugano

  • Are there any sites or destinations I am required to visit while in Europe?

    • Yes. As part of the study abroad program you are expected to visit historic and cultural sites in these cities:  Rome, Florence, Venice, Prague, Paris, Barcelona, Berlin, and Munich.

    • ​The first one-week break you are required to travel to the UK (England, Scotland, Ireland).

  • NOTE:  Students cannot remain in the Schengen region for more than 90 days in a 180 day period. 


  • Where are we staying in Africa?

    • Students are assigned to various locations in Rwanda or Ethiopia.

    • You will stay in a hotel or guest house near your assigned non-profit's volunteer site.


  • Which meals are covered in Africa?

    • All meals are covered.


  • Do I need to bring my own sheets and towels?

    • Sheets and towels are provided by your accommodations.  You might want to bring your own towel for your travels.


  • How will I do my laundry?

    • Laundry varies at each site. Most locations you will hand wash. You will be provided with laundry soap and detergent. Clothing lines, buckets, and sinks will be available for you to use.


  • Will I have internet access while in Africa?

    • You will not have dedicated internet access at your accommodations, but internet cafes are available in the towns and affordable.

  • Can I drink the water in Africa?

    • No; bottled water will be provided for you.  Boiled water is also okay.