About Brockport's Western Europe: Best of Europe Summer Program
***This program will next run in Summer 2018***
Examines the culture and customs of Western European countries and involves traveling to the Italy, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark. This 17-day European tour explores the range of activities, beliefs, behaviors and ideas of groups of people with shared traditions including social customs, leisure activities, dress, celebrations, foods and rituals.
The Brockport Best of Europe Program offers you the opportunity to:
- Understand how culture creates and transforms individual experiences, everyday community life, and social relations,
- Identify comparisons between US and European lifestyle focusing on attitudes, values, behaviors, celebrations and rituals,
- Understand the historical events that shaped each unique culture,
- Learn about the Arts and architecture that are unique each Western European country,
- Promote cultural competence though interacting with individuals from different cultures,
- Enhance the ability to make observation, analyze situations and form a perspective using critical thinking skills and document finding effectively.
For more information, contact the program's faculty leader: Dr. Mark Chadsey, firstname.lastname@example.org
Housing & Orientation
All accommodation costs are included in the program fee.
Fees for the Western Europe: Best of Europe Summer 2016 Program -
Budget Sheet for the Undergrad Program (Summer 2016): $6,126.85.00 (EST)
Does Not Include:
- Program Acceptance Fee
- SUNY Tuition (6 Credits)
- Pre-departure orientation materials
- Round-trip Flight (Buffalo, NY)
- Program Activities and Transportation
- Some Meals (Breakfast and Dinners)
- Brockport's Study Abroad Office Services, including the presence of a Brockport Faculty Director.
- Campus Specific Fees (i.e. College Fee, Technology Fee)*
- Health Insurance**
- Additional Meals
- Mandatory Tips (tips for tour guides and bus drivers)
- Text Books and Supplies
- Miscellaneous Expenses
The actual amount that you will spend depends heavily on your style of living, and will vary with each individual's personal spending habits, entertainment preferences and travel choices.
Financial Aid applies towards tuition and fees
*Varies depending on the SUNY campus at which the participant pays tuition.
**The SUNY International Health Insurance is mandatory and will be included on the student's Brockport invoice.
Best of Europe syllabus 2016-1.docx
Students will earn 6 credit hours.
Summer Tour; May 19, 2016 - June 4, 2016
Day 1: Board Overnight Flight to Rome
Day 2: Rome
Arrive in Rome
Welcome to Rome, the Eternal City. The city is an incredible mix of archeological gems, Roman genius, Renaissance art, and religious treasure. As Italy’s capital, it is also the bustling heart of this exciting country. With its fashionable shopping and café-culture, Rome really is a unique experience.
Time permitting we will visit the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and Piazza Navona (time permitting)
Enjoy free time in Piazza di Spagna. Climb the staircase to view the city below, or take the time to wander through one of Rome’s most popular shopping areas. Alternatively, enjoy a moment to relax amongst the hustle and bustle of the city while enjoying a tradition Italian treat- gelato. You should make sure you wander over to the famed Trevi Fountain and toss in a coin to ensure your return to Rome.
Overnight in Rome
Day 3: Rome / Vatican
Guided Sightseeing of the Vatican
The World’s largest dome is located in the world’s smallest country. See both as you tour St. Peter’s Basilica, erected in Vatican City on the site where the saint was martyred. Enter the basilica under the watchful eyes of the brightly dressed Swiss Guard. Inside, admire Michelangelo’s Pieta and try to find the artist’s signature (It is the only sculpture he ever signed). Then continue on to the Vatican Museum, where elaborate galleries packed with one artistic masterpiece after another lead you directly to the Sistine Chapel. Between 1508 and 1512, Michelangelo painted some of the world’s finest pictorial images on the Chapel’s ceiling. This was his first attempt at working in fresco, which he did by standing up and craning backwards from a scaffold.
Guided Sightseeing of the Colosseum
Visit the Colosseum, where gladiators once battled for their lives in front of 50,000 spectators.
Overnight in Rome
Day 4: Rome/ Florence
Visit the Galleria Borghese
The gallery was fully renovated during the 1990’s and re-opened to the public shortly before the millennium. Inside, one can see amazing sculptures by Bernini, including David, crouching aggressively with his slingshot, Apollo and Daphne, and others. Elsewhere, the collection of paintings helps confirm the status of the gallery as one of the great Italian houses of art.
Transfer to Florence
Set deep in the heart of Tuscany is one of Italy’s jewels. The city of Florence has delighted visitors for centuries with its remarkable architecture. Whether sitting by the River Arno, strolling the beautifully housed streets or viewing the renaissance masterpieces that fill the city’s churches and museums, one can only be astonished by the feeling of true beauty.
Day 5: Florence
Guided Sightseeing of Florence
Fall under the spell of the powerful Medici family on your guided tour. See Giotto’s Bell Tower and the imposing marble cathedral in the Piazza del Duomo. Stand before Ghiberti’s legendary Gates of Paradise (so dubbed by Michelangelo), and pass the classical statues of the Piazza della Signoria- here you can see where Michelangelo’s David originally stood. Later, watch local artisans at work at a local leather shop.
Visit the Accademia Gallery
This simple building, located on Via Ricasoli, houses on of the world’s true masterpieces in Michelangelo’s statue David. Elsewhere, you can see unfinished works by the great artist along with other Renaissance treasures. Make sure to visit the ‘workroom’ and learn more of the skills required to bring images out of marble.
Overnight in Florence
Day 6: Florence/ Venice
Visit the Uffizi Gallery
Originally created as offices (uffizi) for Cosimo de Medici, the building became a gallery in the 17th century. Today it houses one of the finest collections of Renaissance works of anywhere in the world. The three-sided gallery is a treasure chest of pieces in a perfectly-lit opulent setting, truly a gallery of special taste.
Transfer to Venice
Arrive in magical Venice, home of Marco Polo. Known globally for its gondoliers and glassware, Venice is also a heady mix of piazzas, thronging with pizzerias and cafés, as well as deserted streets, alongside canals, leading to hidden gems such as churches or local-dominated restaurants serving regional delicacies.
Overnight in Venice
Day 7: Venice
Guided Sightseeing of Venice
We begin our sightseeing of la Serenissima (the city’s nickname meaning “the most serene”) at St. Mark’s Square, “the finest drawing room in Europe,” according to Napoleon. Allegedly buried under the altar of the basilica are St. Mark’s remains, which, in the 11th century, were smuggled out of Alexandria in a barrel of salt pork to prevent a thorough search by the city’s Muslim guards. Also, see the Grand Canal and the 324-foot Campanile (Bell Tower), whose steps were originally built so that a noble could ascend on horseback. Look for the clock where two bronze figures have been striking the hour for over 500 years. Venice is also famous for its glassware- you’ll see why during a glassblowing demonstration.
Visit the Doges’ Palace
Visit the grand 14th century pink and white Doges’ Palace, from which mighty Venetian dukes once ruled. Here you’ll stroll over the Bridge of Sighs, connecting the palace and its prison. As they crossed the bridge, prisoners supposedly sighed with perfect sadness as they regarded their beautiful city for the last time. Casanova made a daring escape from this prison in 1756. Please note that your ticket also includes free entrance to Museo Correr, the National Archeological Museum and the Monumental Rooms of the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana)
Visit the Burano Lace Museum
The Burano Lace Museum, or Museo del Merletto, is located in the famous Podesta of Torcello Palace on the Island of Burano. The museum gives a wonderful history of Venetian lace from its modest beginnings to the world renowned art it has become today.
Night Train to Paris
Tonight, spend the night in comfortable couchette accommodations aboard your overnight train bound to Paris.
Overnight on Train
Day 8: Paris
Arrive in Paris
Welcome to Paris, cosmopolitan City of Light. Over the centuries, Paris has grown to become the undisputed center of France, and one of the world’s most important cities both culturally and politically. Equally famed for its high fashion, awe-inspiring museums and elegant cuisine, Paris has also been a center of theatre, literature and philosophy throughout the ages.
Guided Sightseeing of Paris
Discover the city on the Seine during your bus tour. Learn about Paris’ origins as a Roman settlement as you pass through the Île de la Cité, where you will also see Notre Dame Cathedral. Pass by the imposing Arc de Triomphe, commemorating Napoleon’s Grande Armée, and the École Militaire, where he graduated to Lieutenant. Continue down the elegant Champs-Élysées to the Place de la Concorde, dedicated to King Louis XV and the site where Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were executed during the French Revolution. Then, head through the Quartier Latin where you will see the world-renowned Sorbonne University, and drive along the Seine for wonderful views of the Musée D’Orsay, the Louvre and the Pont de Neuf, or ‘new bridge’, which is ironically Paris’ oldest. Finally, make a photo stop at the iconic Eiffel Tower, built for the 1889 World’s Fair. Learn why this impressive, yet controversial, symbol of Paris was spared the wrecking ball in 1909.
Walking Tour of the Latin Quarter
Our tour director will lead us on a walking tour of Paris’ famous Latin Quarter. Featuring a diversity of restaurants, the Latin Quarter is just a short walk down the Rue de la Seine from the museum area.
Visit Notre Dame Cathedral
Built between 1163 and 1361 over the remains of an ancient Roman temple, it was here that Napoleon crowned himself emperor in 1804. Victor Hugo once described the sculptured façade of Notre Dame as “a vast symphony in stone.” However, had it not been for the creation of his famous hunchback, Quasimodo, the cathedral might never have returned to its former glory. Hugo’s novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame helped inspire a 23-year restoration of the cathedral that began in 1841. Step inside to admire the stained-glass rose window and seemingly weightless vaulted ceilings.
Dinner in the Latin Quarter
Bakeries, bistros and brasseries abound here in the Latin Quarter, which takes great pride in its food. After sightseeing, enjoy dinner in one of its many delicious dining establishments.
Ascend the Eiffel Tower
Built in 1889 for the World’s Fair, the tower is now one of the world’s most recognizable monuments and a symbol of Paris. Standing over 300 meters high, with a viewing balcony on each of its three levels, a visit to this historic landmark is one of the must-do events in any visit to the city. (Pending availability due to limited group reservations.)
Overnight in Paris
Day 9: Paris
Guided Excursion to Versailles
Step back into le grand siècle as you experience the opulence of Versailles, the elaborate palace of Louis XIV. Built to be the envy of all Europe, France’s most extravagant château continually threatened to bankrupt the national treasury. Here the Sun King held court in the most lavish style imaginable. At one point, 1,000 nobles were attended by 4,000 servants inside the palace, while 15,000 soldiers and servants inhabited the annexes. Stroll through the elegantly landscaped gardens, designed by André Le Nôtre. You’ll also tour the State Apartments of the King himself and walk through the historic Hall of Mirrors, where France, Spain and England officially recognized the independence of the United States in 1783, and where the Treaty of Versailles, which ended WWI, was signed. You’ll also witness the ornate décor of the Queen’s State Apartments, furnished for Marie Antoinette. (Because of the extreme popularity of Versailles, guided visits to the interior cannot be guaranteed during peak seasons. In this case, your group will hear a presentation from your guide before entering the palace.)
Visit to the Louvre Museum
The Palais du Louvre, built to defend the city in the 13th century, now safeguards one of the world’s greatest art collections. Enter the museum through world-renowned architect I.M. Pei’s 1989 modernist glass pyramid. Inside, discover priceless antiquities from Egypt, Greece, Italy and Asia such as the statues of Venus de Milo and Nike of Samothrace, better known as Winged Victory. You’ll also see some of the Louvre’s most prized paintings by Renaissance and European masters, including Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of the mysterious Mona Lisa.
Evening Walking Tour of Montmartre
This evening you will explore the neighborhood of Montmartre, the highest point in Paris. Once a medieval village, Montmartre is home to the famed Moulin Rouge nightclub. As you stroll along the narrow, cobbled streets, you’ll see the many artists who paint the passing scene as visitors drift in and out of inviting cafés and shops. Upon reaching the crest of the hill, you might wish to step inside the grandiose white basilica of Sacrè-Coeur.
Dinner in Montmartre
Toast to creativity through the ages during dinner.
Overnight in Paris
Day 10: Paris/ Bruges
Transfer to Bruges
Traverse the Belgian countryside to the picture-perfect town of Bruges, one of Europe’s most timeless and beautiful towns. The canal-lined streets are trafficked by both bicycles and horse-drawn carriages. Note the well preserved medieval character of the town in brick facades, steep gables, and Gothic town hall. Walk along the Lake of Love, visit an age-old béguinage, and see the only Michelangelo to have left Italy before the artist’s death.
Today enjoy a boat cruise through the canals of Bruges – the best way to see the town!
Climb the Belfry and Hallen
The tower of pride in Bruges, Belfry and Hallen stands at a marvelous 83 meters tall and closely guards a treasure chamber, an impressive clock mechanism and a carillon with 47 silver toned bells which chime beautifully every 15 minutes. The climb up the tower’s 366 stairs is rewarded by the panoramic view of Bruges and surrounding areas that is always described as captivating and simply well worth the climb.
Overnight in Bruges
Day 11: Bruges/ Amsterdam
Transfer to Amsterdam
Travel through irrigated Dutch landscapes as you make your way to Amsterdam, capital of the Netherlands. Known both as a center of entertainment and as a city of classical design and architecture, Amsterdam is a city of astonishing contrast.
Guided Sightseeing of
A local guide introduces you to Amsterdam’s most famous sights on a walk through the city. Pass the Westerkerk (West Church), where the remains of Rembrandt and his son are buried. The church also held the wedding of Queen Beatrix in 1966. Continue to lively Dam Square, a dam around the Amstel River created in the 13th century to prevent the Zuiderzee Sea from flooding the city. Now this bustling tourist area boasts the impressive Koniklijk Paleis (Royal Palace) once the home of the Dutch Royal Family; the National Monument; and the Nieuwekerk (New Church), where members of the Dutch Royal Family are officially inaugurated. See the Begijnhof, a lovely 14th-centry courtyard, built as a sanctuary for the Begijnhofites a Catholic sisterhood. Walk across the lifting bridge to Waterlooplein. Marvel at the views of the Amstel river as you cross the Magere Brug (Skinny Bridge). Although “magere” means skinny in Dutch and the bridge was quite thin when built, rumor says the bridge was actually named for the Magere sisters, living on opposite sides of the river, who built the bridge to make it easier to visit each other. Finally, you will see Rembrandtplein, a square packed with terrace cafés, diamond shops, nightclubs, and hotels.
Overnight in Amsterdam
Day 12: Amsterdam
Visit the Anne Frank House
Visit the Anne Frank House, where the young girl hid with her family from 1942 to 1944- and where she penned the poignant diary that has been translated into dozens of languages worldwide.
Visit Rijksmuseum which features a collection of treasures from the golden age of Dutch art. Major pieces include Rembrandt’s famous painting, The Night Watch, which stands at the heart of the museum. Elsewhere, see the pieces by leading lights of the last four centuries housed in a building, replete with intricate detail, designed by Cuypers.
Walking Tour of Amsterdam
Stroll along the canal-lined streets of Amsterdam on our EF walking tour. Cross Dam Square, then pass by the Koninklijk Paleis (Royal Palace) and the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), site of Dutch coronations.
Day 13: Amsterdam
Free time in Vondelpark
Spend free time in the largest city park in Amsterdam.
Guided Walking tour of the Red Light District
Enjoy a guided tour through Amsterdam’s famous Red Light District.
Overnight in Amsterdam
Day 14: Amsterdam/ Hamburg
Transfer to Hamburg
Welcome to Hamburg! With 1.7 million inhabitants, it is the second largest city in the Federal Republic of Germany.
Walking Tour of Hamburg
Marvel at the gorgeous architecture in historic Rathaus and Speicherstadt then explore the harbor and fish market in the biggest harbor city in Europe.
Overnight in Hamburg Region
Day 15: Hamburg/ Copenhagen
Transfer to Copenhagen
This city traces its roots back 1,000 years, to the age of the Vikings. It was here that philosopher Søren Kierkegaard became the “father of existentialism” and Hans Christian Andersen penned such stories as The Little Mermaid, The Princess and the Pea, and The Emperor’s New Clothes. Despite its long history, Copenhagen stands today a modern city, brimming with innovations of technology, modern art, music and theater.
Walking Tour of Copenhagen
Your walking tour begins at City Hall Square, entrance to Copenhagen’s Old Town. Stroll along Strøget, a bustling pedestrian-only street, and wind your way down to Kongens Nytorv. In its center stands an equestrian statue of Christian V, who designed this part of the city. See too the Nyhavn, a lively seaport where Hans Christian Andersen once lived.
Overnight in Copenhagen
Day 16: Copenhagen
Guided Sightseeing of Copenhagen
Enjoy a guided tour of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy-tale city. Pass by the town hall and Tivoli Gardens, the city’s lively amusement park. Continue past Christiansborg Palace (seat of the Danish Parliament), Rosenborg Castle, the old stock exchange and the Royal Theatre (home of the famous Royal Danish Ballet). Stop at the courtyard of Amalienborg Palace (the royal residence) before seeing the statue of the fabier’s Little Mermaid, watching over Copenhagen’s harbor.
Climb the Round Tower
The Round Tower or Rundetaam was built by Christian the IV in the 17th century. Denmark was quite famous for its astronomical achievements and contributions thanks to the astronomer Tycho Brahe. After his death in 1601 the King wished to honor Brahe’s legacy and continue his research by erecting his tower where astronomers could work for tears to come. Climb up the spiral incline inside the tower or 209 meters to reach the observatory deck at 36 meters above the old city of Copenhagen!
Free Afternoon in Copenhagen
Take time to explore Copenhagen at your own pace. You might enjoy a visit to one of the city’s famed museums, such as the NY Carlsburg Glyptotek, the Museum of Danish Resistance, or the Royal Museum of Fine Arts. Alternatively, take a walk down the “strolling street” a pedestrian shopping haven, or take a boat trip around the canals and waterways of the city.
Overnight in Copenhagen
Day 17: Board Return Flight Home
Transfer to the Copenhagen Airport for your Return Flight
Our Tour Director assists with your transfer to the airport, where you’ll check in for your return flight home.
Itinerary is subject to change.
For complete financial and registration details, please refer to the Booking Conditions at www.efcst.com/bc.