Summer Abroad USA - On Site

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Iconic American Landmarks in NYC and DC

Washington D.C. and New York City are considered by many people within and outside of the United States to be the structural and cultural centers of the nation. They are often treated as symbolic representations of the nation as a whole. Likewise, many of the spaces and structures of Washington D.C. and New York City are instantly recognizable by people worldwide, regardless of whether or not they have visited the cities. These structures are so thoroughly associated with the nation that an individual’s experience of them is inevitably inflected by one’s attitude toward the U.S. Thus, these two cities offer ideal locations for learning about the rhetorical impact of designed objects, such as monuments, and for considering how the abstract concept of the nation is, in part, visually constructed.


Students will stay in university dorms or in a hostel in New York City and in double rooms at the Virginian Suites in D.C. Both accommodations will have access to a kitchen or kitchenette for students who wish to prepare their own meals or store food.

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


Breakfast will be included in NYC and DC. In addition to breakfast, five group meals are included in the program fees. All other meals are considered out-of-pocket expenses.


There will be a dedicated classroom space in each of the cities. 


An unlimited public transportation card will be included in both cities as well as the train from DC to NYC. 

Excursions and Day Trips

Washington D.C.

  • Walking Tour of Capitol Mall and DC neighborhoods
  • White House Tour
  • Capitol Hill Tour
  • National Cathedral
  • Ford’s Theater
  • Arlington Cemetery
  • The Spirit of Mount Vernon Boat trip on the Potomac to Mount Vernon, plus tour of the estate
  • Smithsonian. Visits to a number of the Smithsonian museums, including the Castle, the Museum of American History, the Museum of the American Indian, the National Air and Space Museum
  • United States Holocaust Museum
  • National Archives

New York City

  • Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
  • Empire State Building Observation Deck
  • Greenwich Village Walking Tour
  • Central Park Walking Tour
  • Grand Central Station Audio Tour
  • Radio City Stage Door Tour
  • The Guggenheim Museum
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • 9/ll Memorial Museum and Tribute Center
  • Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
  • Highline Bridge Walking Tour
  • Staten Island Ferry Ride

Please see the syllabus on the Courses page for the tentative schedule of program activities and excursions. Activities and schedule are subject to change at the discretion of the program.

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 New York and Washington D.C.

New York City

One of the world’s most captivating places, New York City has it all: celebrated concert halls, a renowned dining scene, and fascinating neighborhoods filled with people from every corner of the globe.  Stroll the massive green spaces of Central Park, overload your senses in Chinatown, and be inspired by the Statue of Liberty. Read more about New York City. Source: Lonely Planet 

Washington D.C.

The USA’s capital teems with iconic monuments, vast museums and the corridors of power, where visionaries and demagogues roam. Climb the steps of Abraham Lincoln’s dramatic Doric-columned memorial, tour the iconic home of the US President, or wander cobblestoned neighborhoods and jazzy bohemian quarters. Read more about Washington D.C. Source: Lonely Planet

Currency: US Dollars

Language Spoken: English

Weather and Climate

It is very warm in the summer in NYC and D.C. with occasional showers

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