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Design in Europe


  • In York, you will stay in a hostel with breakfast included.
  • In Edinburgh, you will stay in a hostel with breakfast included.
  • In London, you will stay in single rooms in a dormitory, where English breakfast is included.
  • In Utrecht, Netherlands you will stay in a hostel with breakfast included.

UC Davis reserves the right to change the accommodation location. Should this be necessary, we will arrange comparable lodging. Please note that elevators, air conditioners and other modern conveniences may not be available in all locations.


During the program, breakfast is included with your accommodations. There are a number of lunches or dinners included during field trips (see syllabus). For the most part, students are on their own for lunches and dinners. You may decide to purchase groceries at the local market on your own or visit nearby restaurants to enjoy regional dishes.

In addition to a welcome meal at the beginning of the program in York to help you get to know your instructor and classmates, some group meals will be provided during the month. A farewell dinner at the end of the program in the Netherlands will give you an opportunity to say goodbye before continuing your travels or returning home.

Excursions and Day Trips

The program will be based for the first ten days in the northern English city of York. We will work closely with York Museums Trust and other local cultural organizations. York is easy to navigate and has some of the finest museums in Britain including the National Railway Museum, and superb examples of Roman, Norman, Medieval and Georgian architecture and design. From York we will take day trips to Wakefield, famous for its Victorian architecture, the supremely landscaped Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and the picturesque coastal town of Whitby. There will also be opportunities to visit other local design classics such as Castle Howard, or the vibrant cities of Liverpool and Manchester on the weekends. 

The program then travels north to the stunning Scottish capitol of Edinburgh for a few days. Everyone falls in love with Edinburgh, famed for its castle, Georgian architecture and welcoming spirit. The National Museum of Scotland is one of our main visits, as is a day excursion to the city of Glasgow known for the work of architect/designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Our third stop will be London, capitol of British style. Here we will spend seven days, experience some of the best contemporary British design and architecture, and visit behind-the-scenes of world class museums and professional design studios, including the V&A and the Design Museum, and study in the prestigious Central St. Martins School of Art and Design.

For the final week, we will travel to the Netherlands, a center for European design. Based in the city of Utrecht, a more compact version of Amsterdam, and home to superb examples of Dutch architecture and design, including the Centraal Museum and the Rietveld Schröder House. From Utrecht we will take day trips to Amsterdam, known for its centuries of progressive contemporary design, visiting the Stedelijk Museum and behind-the-scenes visits to professional design studios. We will also take day excursions to the contemporary city of Rotterdam, and to the Kröller-Müller Museum and sculpture park, an art and nature lovers paradise.

Study Abroad will arrange travel from York to Edinburgh, Edinburgh to London, and London to Utrecht.  The cost of this travel is included in the program fee.

Study Abroad Advisory of Student Risk

Participation in this UC Davis Study Abroad program requires travel to and extended living in a foreign location(s) abroad. UC Davis Study Abroad endeavors to reduce and mitigate risk wherever possible. However, the environments and risks associated with living in these locations are substantially different than those found during a regular course of study at UC Davis. All participants must download and review the following information prior to departure. Any questions should be directed to the Program Coordinator.

Study Abroad General Risk Advisory

Program Specific Risk Advisories (PDF)

About the United Kingdom and Netherlands

About York

Lonely Planet: York is the kind of place that makes you wish – if only for an instant – that the Industrial Revolution never happened, and reminds us of a world before the machines. A city of extraordinary cultural and historical wealth, its medieval spider’s web of narrow streets is enclosed by a magnificent circuit of 13th-century walls. At its heart lies the immense, awe-inspiring minster, one of the most beautiful Gothic cathedrals in the world. The city’s long history and rich heritage is woven into virtually every brick and beam; modern, tourist-oriented York – with its myriad museums, restaurants, cafés and traditional pubs – is a carefully maintained heir to that heritage.

About Edinburgh

Lonely Planet: Edinburgh is a city that begs to be explored. From the imposing castle to the Palace of Holyrood house, every corner turned reveals sudden views and unexpected vistas—green sunlit hills, a glimpse of rust-red crags, a blue flash of distant sea.  Edinburgh is filled with quirky, come-hither nooks that tempt you to explore just that little bit further.

About London

Lonely Planet: Everyone comes to London with a preconception shaped by a multitude of books, movies, TV shows and songs. Whatever yours is, prepare to have it exploded by this endlessly fascinating, amorphous city. You could spend a lifetime exploring it and find that the slippery thing’s gone and changed on you. One thing is constant: that great serpent of a river enfolding the city in its sinuous loops, linking London both to the green heart of England and the world. From Roman times the world has come to London, put down roots and whinged about the weather. There is no place on earth that is more multicultural; any given street yields a rich harvest of languages, and those narrow streets are also steeped in fascinating history, magnificent art, imposing architecture and popular culture. When you add an endless reserve of cool to this mix, it’s hard not to conclude that London is one of the world’s great cities, if not the greatest."

About the Netherlands

Lonely Planet: Visionary architecture, vintage-meets-contemporary fashion and interiors, street markets selling rainbows of fresh flowers, haring (raw herring), caramel-filled stroopwafels (caramel-syrup-filled waffles with ice cream) and cheese, and borrel ('drinks') at canal-side cafés are all reasons I love the Netherlands. But what I love about the country above all is its spirit. If something doesn't exist, the Dutch will design it, build it, manufacture it, recycle it, craft it, launch it (the Netherlands is one of the world's hottest start-up hubs) and make it a reality. There's a sense that anything's possible here (and it invariably is).

Currency: Pound Sterling (GBP, symbol: £) in the UK, Euro in the Netherlands

Language Spoken: English (UK), Dutch (Netherlands)

Weather and Climate

Because weather is unpredictable, bring clothes that you can layer for ease of comfort.  There may be some rain showers during your stay, so bring a jacket, poncho or umbrella and appropriate shoes for rain.

Research Your Destination

United Kingdom




The Netherlands

Keeping in Touch

Since communication options can vary dramatically from country to country, Summer Abroad advises checking with the instructor or the Program Specific Guide for advice about what might be the best option for your particular program.

Calling the U.S. from Abroad

Many U.S.-based long distance phone companies provide special services that make it easy for you to phone home from abroad. Some provide toll-free access numbers that connect with an operator in the U.S. Some provide the means to charge long distance calls to a credit card or to a third party. Some provide better long distance rates. Others provide access to emergency, medical, legal, translation, and entertainment information. Students are encouraged to investigate these options before departure and to shop for the best services and rates.

Global Cell Phones

Most cell phone companies can sell you a special global cell phone with the option to add more minutes as needed. Also, most cell phone companies can unlock your cell phone for global use, but this requires a trip to a provider at your destination who will give you a SIM card and sell you minutes. Check with your cell phone provider for more information. Global cell phones are also available through travel agencies and online. Be sure to check the policies for both incoming and outgoing calls and text messages.

Cell Phone Rental

Some students choose to rent a cell phone that works at their destination. Some companies will ship the phone directly to the student in advance of the program dates—and include a packet for sending the phone back when they return. Interested students can locate service providers via the Internet.

Phone Cards

Many travel agencies and specific phone providers carry great options for phone cards. Check the rates available from your long distance provider. You can often buy phone cards on site.


Skype is a computer program that you can download for free that allows you to talk (for free) on the phone over the Internet with anyone else who has Skype. Go to to download the program. For an extra fee (as low as .02 cents/minute) you can enable your Skype to call land lines instead of just other computers. You will need a microphone and headset so that you can talk to the person on the other line. Skype also includes a chat option for instant messaging.

Instant Messaging Systems

Instant messaging systems are also a great free way to communicate with people back in the states. There are numerous options for messaging systems from AOL Instant Messenger to Yahoo Messenger. Just about every messaging program can be downloaded for free online.

Internet Access

Computer and internet access varies by program. Information for your site will be listed in your Program Specific Guide.

Internet access is offered in all the countries we go to, but the reliability of it differs from program to program. Internet can be accessed through internet cafes. Some programs also offer access through the dorms or on-campus computer labs. Internet cafes are very reasonably priced and often times have various instant messaging programs installed and headphones available to chat with loved ones. Relying on internet cafes may reduce worry of bringing your own laptop with you. You can upload pictures at most internet cafes, but remember due to the speed of some connections, it may be a better idea just to bring multiple memory cards to avoid spending your whole day on the computer.

Cultural Learning

Living in a new culture can be exhilarating, rewarding, and stimulating. It can also be frustrating. It is one thing to tour a country, but it is quite another to live and function according to different norms. It is important to be open toward a new culture, to try to discard stereotypes, and to learn as much as possible about the culture before departure. If you educate yourself about the country you will be visiting, you will better understand and appreciate your new surroundings!

Even with preparation it is likely that you will experience "culture shock." Recent studies show that there are distinct stages of culture shock. Some of these stages include: awareness of the host culture and preparation, initial euphoria and excitement, irritability phase during acclimation, gradual adjustment, and adaptation to culture. Upon return to the United States, many students face "reverse culture shock."

There are some things you can do to minimize your cultural adjustment. Keep a sense of humor! Treat yourself to an occasional U.S. indulgence like a favorite food, or purchase a U.S. magazine or newspaper. Avoid other Americans who are overly negative or who complain a lot. Keep healthy. Above all, don't be afraid to try new activities!

Resources for Further Study

Ethical Considerations in Study Abroad