UC Davis Summer Abroad


Status: Open

Sustainable Cities of Northern Europe

On Location


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

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.

Student Blog and Video Spotlight - Lucy Lu

BlogLucy and the Wilderness


Continental breakfast is included in the Accommodation and Services Abroad fee. Students buy their other meals at various locations: in the dorms, at hotels or in local restaurants or markets. Some group meals will be provided at various points during the program to allow students to savor the local culture and enjoy a relaxing meal together.

Excursions and Day Trips

Please download a copy of the course syllabus (on the 'Academics' page) to read more about the planned field trips and excursions.  They are a crucial part of this active program. Visiting the sustainable communities (your classroom!) make it a truly rewarding and once-in-a-lifetime educational opportunity!

Tentative Itinerary (subject to change)

  • Stockholm, Sweden (9 nights)
  • Malmo, Sweden   (4 nights)
  • Copenhagen, Denmark (6 nights)
  • Freiburg, Germany (8 nights) 
  • Lucerne, Switzerland (2 nights)

If you need to arrive early or stay late, you will have to make your own housing arrangements.

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, France and Switzerland

Stockholm and Malmo, 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 an urban island (Skeppsholmen), and trips to many of the city’s 120 museums.

Malmö is the one of the most 'continental' and diverse of Sweden's cities. Located in the far south along the Öresund, it is a vibrant and multicultural place, influenced by nearby Copenhagen and populated by people from 150 nations. Malmö is a city in transition, from an industrial port past to a modern future as the home of some of Sweden’s most sustainable and progressive neighborhoods and projects. The new waterfront district boasts the Turning Torso, a 45 story residential tower designed by Santiago Calatrava, hundreds of acres of parks and waterfront activities and some of the most interesting collection of recent housing designs in the world. Malmo also has an extensive system of parks and bikeways, a thriving downtown environment and is home to the first of Sweden’s innovative low impact development storm water drainage systems and renewable energy projects. The city has interesting art and music exhibitions; and the Lilla Torg (downtown plaza) and environs is a small-scale, walk-able haven of great restaurants.

Copenhagen and Odense, Denmark
Copenhagen is one the most cosmopolitan, exciting 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.

Odense, a 1000-year-old capital on the Danish island of Funen, is a comfortable city that feels like a small village with its acres of parks, greenbelts and rivers, miles of walking and cycle paths, and art, museums, and historic districts paying homage to its most notable citizen, Hans Christian Andersen. From a sustainability point of view, the city has gone to great lengths to become Scandinavia’s cycle city, has a unique inter-connected waterway and green way system, and has worked hard on issues of energy conservation and historic preservation. Odense is in the process of redeveloping its old harbor into a “new town” and has a vibrant downtown of shops, restaurants and walk-able places. As part of our tour, we will take a train/ferry trip to the island of Aero, known for its non-stop winds, small-scale historic character (the main town, Aeroskobbing, is the last place in Denmark that has preserved its original architecture, street pattern and character), and for becoming nearly 100% reliant on renewable energy mix (wind, solar, geo-heat).

Freiburg, Germany and trips to Strasbourg, France and Zurich, 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 panacea 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.

From Freiburg we take day long, train, side trips to Strasbourg, France and to Zurich, Switzerland, both cities renowned for their beauty and their cultural heritage, as well as sustainable innovations. As a cross-roads between Germany and France, Strasbourg is home to many of the European Union activities, as well as the unique foods and cultural life of the Alsatian region. Strasbourg is a very walk-able and photo-genetic place which uses it waterways in innovative ways. Likewise Zurich is a city of great visual appeal with many museums, art exhibits, music venues and places to walk, eat, and enjoy. Zurich also boasts one of Europe’s finest inter-connected transit systems, and a thriving downtown environment.

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

Language Spoken: Swedish, Danish, German, English

Weather and Climate

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.

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, only provided as reference for your own research):

Research Your Destination

New York Times Coverage - Sweden

CIA World Factbook – Sweden


New York Times Coverage – Denmark

U.S. Relations with Denmark

CIA World Factbook: Denmark

Odense Tourist Office


New York Times Coverage – Germany

U.S. Relations with Germany

CIA World Factbook: Germany

Wikitravel Germany

Official Site for City of Freiburg in Breisgau

Goethe Institute Inter Nationes

Tourism Office of Germany


My Switzerland