Summer Abroad Europe - On Site

UC Davis Study Abroad, Summer Abroad Europe,  Sustainable Cities in Europe Program, Header Image, On Site Page

Sustainable Cities of Northern Europe


Students will stay in various types of shared accommodations: dormitories, hostels and hotels.

Students arriving early or staying after the program will need to make their own housing arrangements.

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.


Continental breakfast is included at all accommodations in each location. There is typically 1-2 group meals provided in each country to allow the group to savor local culture and enjoy a relaxing meal together. Students buy all other meals at various locations: in the hostel, hotel, or in local restaurants or markets.

Excursions and Day Trips

Review the course syllabus (on the Courses page) to read more about the planned field trips and excursions as they are a crucial part of this active program. Visiting the sustainable communities, which become your classroom, make it a truly rewarding and once-in-a-lifetime educational opportunity!

Tentative Itinerary (subject to change)

  • Stockholm, Sweden (7 nights)
  • Gothenburg, Sweden (4 nights)
  • Copenhagen, Denmark (9 nights)
  • Freiburg, Germany (5 nights) 
  • Lucerne, Switzerland (2 nights)

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 Europe - Sweden, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland

Stockholm, Sweden
Stockholm is one of the most beautiful and vibrant cities in the world, with its miles of shoreline, harbors, ferries, elegant buildings, long summer days (20 hours of sun!), great eateries, thriving parks and plazas, sleek design sense, edgy fashion and world-class music/cultural festivals and nightclubs. Stockholm is also one of the most progressive cities in the world in terms of sustainability with exceptional transit, bike and pedestrian transportation, renewable energy and recycling/waste to energy facilities, new eco-neighborhoods and emphasis on public green space, plazas and parks. Surrounding the city is the 24,000 or so rocky islands that make up the archipelago stretching into the Baltic Sea. Our stay in Stockholm includes accommodations on a hostel that is a former sailing ship docked at a beautiful urban island (Skeppsholmen), and trips to many of the city’s 120 museums.

Gothenburg, Sweden
Gregarious, chilled-out Gothenburg (Göteborg) has considerable appeal for tourists and locals alike. Neoclassical architecture lines its tram-rattled streets, locals sun themselves beside canals, and there's always an interesting cultural or social event going on. Gothenburg is a very walkable city. From Centralstationen in the north, shop-lined Östra Hamngatan leads southeast across one of Gothenburg’s 17th-century canals, through verdant Kungsparken (King’s Park) to the city’s boutique and upscale bar-lined ‘Avenyn’ (Kungsportsavenyn) boulevard.

The waterfront abounds with all things nautical, from ships, aquariums and sea-related museums to the freshest fish. To the west, the Vasastan, Haga and Linné districts buzz with creativity and an appreciation for well-preserved history.

Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen is one the most cosmopolitan and vibrant cities in Europe. The Danes are referred to as the happiest population on earth, and they are out in force in Copenhagen with its miles of walk-able streets, plazas, parks and its hundreds of museums, theaters, clubs and restaurants. Tourists are also out in force in Copenhagen in places like the famous Tivoli (an old-fashioned yet modern amusement and music/food park in the heart of the city), and the harbor with its grand theaters, redeveloped wharf housing and design centers. From a sustainability standpoint, there are few urban places in the world with a better inter-connected transit system, more walking and cycling and better examples of urban design.

Freiburg, Germany and side-trips to Basel and Bern, Switzerland
Freiburg, western gateway to the Southern Black Forest, has the informal, innovative and creative attitude and atmosphere of a thriving university community combined with a thriving and vibrant tourist city. Framed by the velvety hills of the Black Forest, it is endowed with a wealth of historical attractions, led by the superb Münster (church), the restored Drisam River (which runs the length of the city and through the heart of town), an excellent range of restaurants, bars and clubs, and 60+ blocks of beautiful and walk-able historic downtown uninterrupted by cars! Freiburg is also known as Germany’s “eco-city” having spent over 30 years creating an unsurpassed transit system, bike network, and urban design fabric, while becoming the focus of the solar energy community in Europe and boasting two of the world’s most successful ecologically-designed neighborhoods. Freiburg is also a destination for those who like recreation and outdoor activity with the nearby forest, lakes, winery bike tours, river recreation (including in town swimming, fishing, and hiking), sand volleyball, soccer, etc.

Lucerne, Switzerland
Located in central Switzerland, and situated along Lake Lucerne, this city is known for being a center for culture, transportation, and economics. Lucerne has preserved its medieval architecture, and with a backdrop of snow-capped mountains, Lucerne is a top destination for tourists.

Currency: Euro (EUR)Swedish kroner (SEK)Danish kroner (DKK)Swiss Franc (CHF)

Language Spoken: Swedish, Danish, German, English

Weather and Climate

Each of the program’s locations have different climates and summer temperatures can vary. Bring clothes that can be layered for ease of comfort. There may be some rain showers, so bring a jacket, poncho or umbrella and appropriate shoes for rain.

For students who wish to explore carbon off-setting, such as purchasing renewable energy to offset the global impact of their air travel, you can research the following internet resources. These organizations and web sites are not endorsed by UC Davis and are only provided as reference for your own research:

Research Your Destination


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