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Fall Semester

Creating Sustainable Social Change

At a glance: 
When: September - December
21 Credits
9 weeks in Europe & 4 weeks in Africa



  • Live in Lugano, Switzerland for 2 months.

  • Travel to European countries every weekend with friends!

  • Study marketing, international development, and leadership under Virginia Tech professors.

  • Spend a month in Eastern Africa completing experiential learning projects with local nonprofit organizations.  

  • Go on an African Safari at a national wildlife park! 


Program details

Housing and Activities


  • You will be based in Lugano, Switzerland, located in Canton Ticino - the only Italian speaking Canton in Switzerland. Lugano is located right on a beautiful lake and only about an hour from Milan, Italy. You will live at the Montarina Hostel, rated in a Washington Post article as one of the 8 top youth hostels in the world, which has beautiful grounds and a pool! From September through October, you will take classes from Virginia Tech professors and have the weekends free to explore the surrounding areas of Europe with friends. Lugano is on a major rail line between Italy and the rest of Europe. You can reach many wonderful cities in a few hours. Past students have visited places such as:

    • Switzerland - Zurich, Lucerne, Zermatt, Interlaken

    • Italy - Milan, Como, Florence, Rome, Venice, Amalfi

    • France - Paris, Nice

    • Germany - Berlin, Munich

    • Spain - Barcelona, Madrid

    • Austria - Vienna, Salzburg

    • Croatia, Ireland, England, Greece and more! 

Eastern Africa

  • Our Fall 2021 program will be going to RWANDA! Past participants have also gone to Ethiopia or Kenya. You will spend the month of November participating in experiential learning projects with local nonprofit partners in Rwanda. Your project will depend on the needs of our partner organizations. Students will collaborate with local schools and non-profit organizations to develop, implement, and deliver curricula in areas such as ESL (English as a second language), cultural exchange discussions, basic computer skills, and professional development. To learn more about the Africa experience, check out our Service Learning and Impact pages. You will also get to participate in local activities such as:

    • Go a safari excursion at Akagera National Park 

    • Visit national monuments and museums in Kigali, Rwanda 

    • Shop for souvenirs in the local markets 

    • Go on a local hike 

    • Participate in a weekend reflection retreat

put Switzerland gallery here

put Africa gallery here


  • Classes are taken in Franklin University facilities, but taught in English by Virginia Tech faculty.

  • Students will earn 21 credits:

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

    • International development (UAP 4764, 3 credits)

    • Consumer behavior (MKTG 4204, 3 credits)

    • Field study (MKTG 4964, 6 credits)

    • Study abroad (MKTG 3954, 3 credits)

    • Exploring Citizen Leadership (LDRS 1015, 3 credits)

  • Students meet twice a week while in Switzerland to prepare for their month in Africa.

  • Students also have the opportunity to gain relevant experience to build their resume through a semester-long consulting project for an international nonprofit partner!

Dates and Fees

Important Dates
August 23, 2021 - Rolling
Applications will open on Monday August, 21, 2021. The program has rolling admissions and is generally full by Thanksgiving. Applications are reviewed every few weeks. Apply now!
Initial Deposit
Due 2 weeks after acceptance into the program.
This initial deposit secures your spot in the program. This deposit is nonrefundable if we are unable to find another student to replace your spot in the program.
Program Payment 1
Billed May 1, Due June 1
See full breakdown of program fees below.
Program Payment 2
Billed July 1, Due Aug 1
See full breakdown of program fees below.
Virginia Tech Tuition
Typically billed by university in mid August and due mid September.
See current university tuition and fees below.
Semester Abroad
September 1 - December 10
The program leaves roughly September 1 for Switzerland and returns to the US roughly December 10. Students spend the month of November in Eastern Africa.
Program Costs
Program Fee
Transportation (Airfare to/from Europe and Africa, Eurorail pass)
Lodging and Meals (Europe)
Lodging and Meals (Africa)
Medical Insurance
VT Tuition Expenses
In State (Virginia Resident)
Out of State
Global Education Office Fees
Estimated Out-of-Pocket Expenses
Weekend travel and personal expenses
$3,000 - $5,000
$3,400 - $5,400

The total cost of the program (tuition & fees, program costs, estimated out of pocket costs) for an in state student is: $20,100

The total cost of the program (tuition & fees, program costs, estimated out of pocket costs) for an out of state state student is: $27,425

Spend 3 months abroad, earn 21 credits, live in 2 continents, travel to multiple European countries, go on a safari, and have an experience of a lifetime for only about $3,000 more than a regular (housing, meal plan, tuition & fees, transportation, etc.) semester on campus at Virginia Tech! 


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 $1200 for travel (flights, hostels, etc.) and $1800 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, Paris, Barcelona, and Munich.


  • 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.