About Brockport's International Study of Culture and Customs Summer Program
Examines the culture and customs of Western European countries and involves traveling to the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, France, England and Spain. 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 International Study of Culture and Customs Program offers you the opportunity to:
Program Detailed Itinerary:
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.
Western Europe Brochure.docx
Housing & Orientation
All accommodation costs are included in the program fee.
Summer 2013: Estimated Cost $6,600 (estimated)
Western Europe Sum 13 EST.pdf
Activities and transportation
Brockport's Study Abroad Office Services
Does Not Include:
Text Books and Supplies
The program is worth 6 credit hours. 3 credits will come from an online course taught before the program and 3 credits will be awarded for the overseas portion.
M, 6/17 Day 1 Start Tour
T, 6/18 Day 2 London
Meet your Tour Director and check into hotel
London City Walk
Thames River, Trafalgar Square, National Gallery Visit, Piccadilly Circus, Covent Garden, Leicester Square, Soho
Fish & chips dinner
Details: London City Walk
Step outside your hotel, for a stroll through the streets of the heart of the English-speaking world. In this city of nearly seven million, you'll see everything from 12th-century fortifications to modern skyscrapers, formal parks to punk rockers. Your Tour Director will lead you to some of the most famous sites. Walk along the Thames River. Cross Trafalgar Square. See bustling Piccadilly Circus. Pass trendy shops and cafés in Bohemian Soho on your way to Covent Garden, a 13th-century fruit and vegetable garden transformed into a maze of narrow streets and pedestrian walkways burgeoning with street performers, open-air markets and boutiques.
Details: National Gallery Visit
Located in an impressive domed building right in Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery houses a rich collection of over 2,000 works of art dating from the mid 13th century to 1900. Explore the beautiful marble hallways to see famous paintings and learn about the work it takes to preserve and care for these masterpieces.
Details: Fish & chips dinner
Nothing’s more British than fish and chips—there are eight fish and chip shops (“chippies”) for every McDonald’s in the country. Head to an authentic pub with your Tour Director for a taste of this national food, generally served with malt vinegar.
W, 6/19 Day 3 London Landmarks
London Guided Sightseeing Tour
Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Tower Bridge, Hyde Park, St. Paul’s Cathedral
Details: London Guided Sightseeing Tour
Join a licensed local guide for an in-depth look at London, from the royal haunt of Buckingham Palace (the official London residence of Queen Elizabeth II) to the slightly more democratic Speakers’ Corner of Hyde Park, where anyone can pull up a soapbox and orate to his heart’s content. You’ll see the changing of the guard (season permitting), the clock tower of Big Ben with its 14-ton bell, and Westminster Abbey, where almost every English king and queen since William the Conqueror has been crowned. After a stop at the Houses of Parliament, continue on to the magnificent St. Paul’s Cathedral, the masterpiece of London architect Christopher Wren.
TH, 6/20 Day 4 London--Amsterdam
Eurostar Chunnel crossing to Brussels
Brussels Tour Director-led Sightseeing Tour
Grand Place, Manneken Pis
Travel to Amsterdam
Details: Eurostar Chunnel crossing to Brussels
Take a seat in London. Stand up in Brussels. Cross the English Channel in the Eurostar, a super-high-speed train. Faster than you can say . . . anything in Flemish, you'll arrive at the Belgian capital.
Details: Brussels Tour Director-led Sightseeing Tour
Chocolate and comics (home of Tin Tin creator Herge). Surrealism. French fries. The headquarters of the European Union. Art Nouveau. Brussels combines Hapsburg-era elegance with modern business and big-city bustle. See the city's historical heart on a walking tour led by your Tour Director. Start at the cobblestone Grand-Place, a central square lined with ornamental gables, medieval banners, and gilded façades. Look at the 15th-century Town Hall and the King's House, lining the Place. Then walk to the Manneken-Pis, a statue of a boy shooting water from his . . . well, bring a camera. Tired from so much strolling? Buy a bag of Belgian pralines for fortification.
F, 6/21 Day 5 Amsterdam Landmarks
Amsterdam Tour Director-Led Sightseeing Tour
Canal guided cruise, Diamond factory visit, Anne Frank’s house visit
Hard Rock Cafe dinner
Details: Amsterdam Tour Director-Led Sightseeing Tour
Canals and crocuses. Bicycles and bluebells. With more canals than Venice (and more flower merchants than perhaps any other city in the world), downtown Amsterdam is an explosion of colour and light reflecting off the water. Take a glass-topped canal boat ride--the best way to see the gabled houses and nearly 1200 bridges. Visit a diamond factory to see how the stones are cut. And take a tour of Anne Frank's house, where three different Jewish families hid for more than two years during World War II. See the bare rooms where they lived before being betrayed and deported to concentration camps
Details: Canal guided cruise
Take a glass-topped canal boat ride down the flower-lined canals of Amsterdam for an amazing view of the gabled houses and nearly 1,200 bridges.
Details: Anne Frank’s house visit
Take a tour of Anne Frank's house, where three different Jewish families hid for more than two years during World War II and where Anne’s famous diaries were discovered. See the bare rooms where they lived before being betrayed to the Nazi’s and deported to concentration camps.
SAT, 6/22 Day 6 Amsterdam--Heidelberg
Travel to Heidelberg via Cologne
Heidelberg Tour Director-Led Sightseeing Tour
Castle & wine barrel visit, University, Marktplatz
Details: Travel to Heidelberg via Cologne
Towering over the train station is the Kolner Dom cathedral, which took seven centuries to finish, only to be scarred by 14 bombings during World War II. During your stop in Cologne, admire the cathedral’s striking architecture, and even go off on your own to climb the 509 stairs to the South Tower for a great view of the Rhine. Nine bells are housed in the Glockenstube, and in one corner, weighing in at 24 tons, is the Petriglocke, the world’s heaviest working bell.
Details: Heidelberg Tour Director-Led Sightseeing Tour
Surrounded by mountains, forests, and the Neckar River, Heidelberg showcases a quintessential German landscape. Join your Tour Director as you drive through this granddaddy of all college towns, with its scores of bars, cafés, and shops. Get a beautiful view Germany’s oldest university —founded in 1386—from the Marktplatz, Heidelberg’s main square. Notice that behind the university lurks the Students’ Prison, used from 1778 until 1914 to imprison students for up to four weeks for minor offenses like drunkenness, practical jokes, and dueling. (Imprisoned students still had to attend lectures — think of it as the 19th-century equivalent of being grounded.) Then head up to Heidelberg Castle, which is still a little wobbly from its partial destruction during the Thirty Years’ War, a 17th-century attack by the French, and a major lightening hit in 1764. The castle’s courtyard is home to the largest wine barrel in world, the Great Vat, which holds about 50,000 gallons of wine (possibly another contributing factor to the castle’s romantically off-balance appearance).
SUN, 6/23 Day 7 Heidelberg--Munich
Travel to Munich via Rothenburg and Dachau
Details: Dachau visit
A grim glimpse into the past, Dachau was the first of Nazi Germany’s camps and a model for the 3,000 work and concentration camps to come. Your Tour Director will lead you through the gas chamber (although never used) and crematorium, which have been restored as a chilling memorial to the 206,000 prisoners who were interned in the camp from 1933 to 1945. The museum examines pre-1930 anti-Semitism, the rise of the Nazi party, and photographed and documented lives of prisoners.
M, 6/24 Day 8 Munich Landmarks
Munich Guided Sightseeing Tour
Residenz, Nymphenburg Palace, Alte Pinakothek, Deutsches Museum, BMW headquarters, Olympic site of 1972, Frauenkirche, Neues Rathaus, Marienplatz, Hofbräuhaus
Neuschwanstein Castle visit
Details: Munich Guided Sightseeing Tour
Join a professional licensed tour guide for a whirlwind look at Munich. Founded in the 12th century by Henry the Lion, Munich now roars with the hustle and bustle of modern German life. As you pass by Marienplatz (named after the square’s gilded Virgin Mary and Child statue), mechanical knights joust and coopers dance to the folk-music chimes of the Neues Rathaus’s Glockenspiel. The twin onion-bulb towers of the Frauenkirche Cathedral frame this whimsical display, while the scents, sounds, and colors of the nearby food market attempt to draw your attention elsewhere. Resist temptation and continue on to Olympiapark, a new suburb built for the 1972 Olympic Games. Pass by several museums, such as the BMW Museum, Alte Pinakothek (home to Munich’s most precious art collections), and the Deutsches Museum of science and technology.
Details: Neuschwanstein Castle visit
This elaborate castle was built atop a rock ledge over the Pöllat Gorge in the Bavarian Alps by order of Bavaria's King Ludwig II, referred to as "Mad Ludwig," whose favorite pastime was midnight sleigh rides through the countryside. This stronghold was the crowning jewel of the king’s building spree across Bavaria and was the inspiration for Cinderella’s castle in Disney World. Begun in 1869 and left unfinished at Ludwig's death in 1886, this lavish palace is an eccentric reconstruction of a medieval castle, and it boasts major technological and architectural achievements for the time, including running water, flushing toilets, a hot water system for the kitchen, and bathrooms with warm-air heating systems.
T, 6/25 Day 9 Munich--Venice
Travel to Venice via Innsbruck
W, 6/26 Day 10 Venice Landmarks
Venice Guided Walking Sightseeing Tour with Whisper headsets
St. Mark’s Square, Basilica, Doges’ Palace visit, Glass-blowing demo
Details: Venice Guided Walking Sightseeing Tour with Whisper headsets
Bubbling up on more than 100 islands in a lagoon off the Adriatic, Venice is an absolutely unique and unquestionably beautiful city. The weight of its opulent architecture – bulbous domes, gothic spires, and lacy marble – may be sinking the city by 10 inches a century, but your local guide will make sure you don’t sink out of sight as you tour the intricate labyrinth of streets and bridges. Step into Piazza San Marco, an airy expanse of arches, sunlight, and pigeons. The multi-domed Basilica on one end, completed in 1094 but decorated for centuries afterward, is the final resting place of the apostle St. Mark, Venice’s patron saint. The mosaics beneath the basilica’s outside arches depict the arrival of St. Mark’s body, stolen from Egypt in 828 by Venetian traders. The frothy Venetian Gothic Doge’s Palace stands next door. Continue on to a glass-blowing demonstration. Venetian glass has long been considered the best in the world, and its production was such a state secret that during the Middle Ages, any Venetian glassblower who attempted to ply his trade outside the city was immediately arrested.
TH, 6/27 Day 11 Venice--Rome
Travel to Rome
St. Francis of Assisi Basilica visit
Rome City Walk
Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Piazza Navona
Details: St. Francis of Assisi Basilica visit
A small town of narrow streets and medieval walls, Assisi might never have been famous had it not been the birthplace of St. Francis, the founder of the Franciscan order. Today it is a major destination for religious pilgrims and art lovers alike. You’ll explore the Basilica of St. Francis, built in the 13th century to hold the saint’s body. Ironically, the body was hidden so well in the basilica that it took 600 years of digging to find it.
Details: Rome City Walk
Baroque-en hearted? Revive your spirits with a walk past Rome's most beautiful and unusual Baroque fountains. At the foot of the Spanish Steps, elegant cafes once favored by visiting Brits and Americans surround the central fountain. The water pressure here was so low that the artist had to sink the fountain into the ground to get any water going through it, so he went ahead and designed the fountain to look like a sinking ship. There's no shortage of water pressure at the nearby Trevi Fountain, a Baroque extravagance designed by master sculptor Bernini. At the Pantheon you'll see the largest concrete dome ever constructed. An oculus, or hole, in the dome lets sunlight into the beautiful temple, dedicated to all the gods.
F, 6/28 Day 12 Rome Landmarks
Rome Guided Walking Sightseeing Tour with Whisper headsets
Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel visit, St. Peter’s Basilica visit, Colosseum visit, Piazza Venezia, Forum Romanum visit, Authentic Trattoria Dinner
Details: Rome Guided Walking Sightseeing Tour with Whisper headsets
Gods and gladiators, glory and gore. Ancient Rome lives on in its spectacular monuments, flavoring the frenetic present with tastes of the past. Don a space-age Whisper headset to get the inside scoop on the most spectacular, the Colosseum, a grisly battle arena that seated more than 45,000. An enormous retractable roof awning system kept spectators cool on sunny days. The nearby Forum provides a glimpse into everyday ancient life, with markets, meeting places, and temples all combined into one vast space. Move into Christian Rome at St. Peter’s Basilica, the triumphal Renaissance church flanked by rows of columns radiating outward like welcoming arms. Within the church Michelangelo’s masterpieces are on display, the “Pietà” in the main church and the recently restored ceiling frescoes and “Last Judgment” in the Sistine Chapel. Continue your trek through time at Piazza Venezia, site of the enormous monument to Victor Emmanuel II, Italy’s first king, and of the Palazzo Venezia, where Mussolini set up his headquarters and from whose porch his mother was said to eavesdrop on citizens below. (The Sistine Chapel is closed on most religious holidays and Sundays, except for the last Sunday in each month).
SAT 6/29 Day 13 Rome--Florence
Travel to Florence
Italian Pizza dinner
SUN, 6/30 Day 14 Florence Landmarks
Florence Guided Walking Sightseeing Tour with Whisper headsets
Palazzo Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria, Chiesa di Santa Croce, Ponte Vecchio, Duomo visit, Leather workshop, Gates of Paradise, Giotto’s Bell Tower, Dante's house
Details: Florence Guided Walking Sightseeing Tour with Whisper headsets
Immerse yourself in the charms of old-world Firenze, a red-brick splendor set in the rolling green hills of Tuscany. The birthplace and focal point of the Italian Renaissance, Florence still has the masterpieces to prove it. Brunelleschi’s elegant Duomo (dome) dominates the skyline, and around every corner is an architectural triumph filled with wall after wall of incomparable art. Your local licensed guide will take you to Giotto's Bell Tower and the aptly named Gates of Paradise, the bronze east doors of the Baptistery that spurred the burgeoning Renaissance. The boy guarding the Palazzo Vecchio with his slingshot is just a copy of Michelangelo’s David; the real statue is over at the Accademia. Don’t overlook the tombs of Michelangelo, Galileo, and Machiavelli at the Chiesa di Santa Croce, and definitely don’t overlook Florence’s amazing leather goods. Check them out when you visit one of the area’s famed workshops.
M, 7/1 Day 15 Florence--Lucerne
Travel to Lucerne via Lugano
T, 7/2 Day 16 Lucerne Landmarks
Lucerne Tour Director-Led Sightseeing Tour
Löwendenkmal, River Reuss, Kapellbrücke
Engelberg Monastery & Cheese Farm Excursion
Details: Lucerne Tour Director-Led Sightseeing Tour
Before a backdrop of snow-capped Alpine mountains and green, cow-filled pastures, join your Tour Director on a tour of Lucerne’s famous sights. Weave your way through a maze of narrow, winding streets until you reach the River Reuss and the medieval Kapellbrücke Bridge. Stop to marvel at the bridge walls, decorated with murals that recreate the 14th-century originals destroyed in a fire. Journey the cobblestone streets in the Old Town to see the Löwendenkmal (Lion Monument), the somber sandstone wild cat gazing down into a reflecting pool. Sense sheer courage as you ponder this artfully chiseled statue created to honor the Swiss Guards who died defending the Tuileries in 1792.
Details: Engelberg Monastery & Cheese Farm Excursion
Observe the historic art of cheese making during a tour of the famous Engelberg Monastery, where the monks still ladle the cheese into molds by hand.
W, 7/3 Day 17 Lucerne--Dijon
Travel to Dijon via Besancon
Tour director-led sightseeing of Besancon
Details: Travel to Dijon via Besancon
The capital of Burgundy and home to the world’s most famous style of mustard, Dijon is a vibrant city filled with art, culture and commerce. Just 40 minutes southeast of Paris, the city is a center of academia, a legacy stemming from its Roman heritage, and also boasts an emphasis on architecture, with an abundance of beautiful churches, cathedrals, and intricately tiled rooftops. Dijon is even the birthplace of Gustave Eiffel, the designer of Paris’ signature tower and the Statue of Liberty’s inner framework. Visitors to Dijon can stroll through the quaint old town, shop in the airy Eiffel-designed market, and see a mini Arc de Triomphe.
Details: Tour director-led sightseeing of Besancon
A beautiful and historic city, Besancon is located a short distance from the Swiss border in the northwest region of France at the base of the Alps. The river Doubs surrounds the city on three sides, and on its banks is the majestic Citadelle, a relic of the city’s strong military history. During your visit you will encounter a variety of significant landmarks, including the 16th century Palais Granvelle and the 12th century St. Jean Cathedral.
TH, 7/4 Day 18 Dijon--Paris
Travel to Paris
Dinner in Latin Quarter
F, 7/5 Day 19 Paris Landmarks
Paris Guided Sightseeing Tour
Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Élysées, Eiffel Tower, Champ de Mars, École Militaire, Les Invalides, Conciergerie, Tuileries, Place Vendôme, Opera House
Seine River Sightseeing Cruise
Details: Paris Guided Sightseeing Tour
What's that huge white arch at the end of the Champs-Élysées? The Arc de Triomphe, commissioned by Napoleon in 1806 after his victory at Austerlitz. Your licensed local guide will elaborate on this, and other Parisian landmarks. See some of the most famous sites, including the ornate, 19th-century Opera, the Presidential residence, the ultra-chic shops of the Rue du Faubourg St-Honoré, and the gardens of the Tuileries. You'll pass the Place de la Concorde, where in the center you’ll find the Obelisk of Luxor, a gift from Egypt in 1836, and the Place Vendôme, a huge square surrounded by 17th-century buildings. Spot chic locals (and tons of tourists) strolling the Champs-Élysées. Look up at the iron girders of the Eiffel Tower, built for the 1889 World's Fair to commemorate the centenary of the French Revolution. See Les Invalides (a refuge for war wounded), the École Militaire (Napoleon's alma mater), and the Conciergerie (the prison where Marie Antoinette was kept during the French Revolution).
Details: Louvre visit
The world's largest art museum, the Louvre is housed in a medieval fortress-turned-castle so grand it's worth a tour itself. You walk through the 71-foot glass pyramid designed by I.M. Pei and added in 1989, and step into another world-one with carved ceilings, deep-set windows, and so many architectural details, you could spend a week just admiring the rooms. But check out the art on the walls. The Mona Lisa is here, as well as the Venus de Milo and Winged Victory (the headless statue, circa 200 BC, discovered at Samothrace). The Louvre has seven different departments of paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures and antiquities. Don't miss the Egyptian collection, complete with creepy sarcophagi, or the collection of Greek ceramics, one of the largest in the world. (Please note the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays.)
Details: Seine River Sightseeing Cruise
See the city from the water on an hour-long cruise along the River Seine. The Seine cuts right through Paris, dividing the city in half. See the Eiffel tower rising up on the Left Bank, the walls of the Louvre on the Right Bank. A guide will point out other monuments and architectural marvels as you pass, many of which are illuminated by clear white light at night.
SAT, 7/6 Day 20 Paris--Madrid
Paris City Walk
Ile de la Cité, Notre Dame Cathedral visit, Ile St. Louis, Latin Quarter visit
Overnight train to Madrid
Details: Paris City Walk
This city was made for walking. Stroll grand boulevards with sweeping views of the city, pristine parks with trees planted in perfect rows, and narrow streets crowded with vendors selling flowers, pastries and cheese. Then head to the Île de la Cité, a small island in the Seine, to see Notre Dame Cathedral. Look up at the great stone buttresses, grotesque gargoyles, and massive stained-glass windows.
Details: Latin Quarter visit
Visit one of the original college towns. Since the Sorbonne’s founding in the 1100s, the Left Bank has attracted not only intellectuals but also the cafés, bookstores, and cinemas that tend to accompany them. It’s also attracted its fair share of famous residents – a plaque marks one of Hemingway’s apartments on rue du Cardinal-Lemoine, and the imposing neoclassical Panthéon holds the tombs of Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, and Marie Curie.
SUN, 7/7 Day 21 Madrid Landmarks
Madrid Guided Sightseeing Tour
Calle Mayor, Gran Via, Cibeles fountain, Alcala Gate, Columbus square, Royal Palace visit
Details: Madrid Guided Sightseeing Tour
Take a taste of Spain's cultural, political, and economic center with a tour led by a licensed local guide. See Madrid's mix of traditional and modern as you visit the Royal Palace, an 18th-century masterpiece. The enormous Baroque palace currently has more rooms (2,800) than any other European palace, but it was originally supposed to be four times as large. The palace is dripping with porcelain, jeweled clocks, amazing ceiling frescoes — the most magnificent, in the Throne Room, was done by the Venetian artist Tiepolo when he was in his seventies. Next take a look at the Neoclassical architecture of the Prado Museum and the Puerta de Alcala triumphal arch, built to honor Carlos III’s entry into Spain.
Details: Flamenco evening
Originating from gypsy music and dance in Southern Spain, flamenco dancing has become a Spanish institution. Dancers use intricate footwork and elaborate arm gestures to convey the mood of the music, which can range from lamentation to celebration.
Details: Tapas dinner
Tapas purportedly originated when bartenders set a small plate ("tapa") over patrons' glasses of sherry and wine to keep the flies out. The bartenders starting piling the plate with cold cuts, olives, or salad, and the bite-size snack was born. (We're unsure how they kept the flies out of the cold-cuts... maybe that's how the sandwich was invented?) Over time these working-class snacks have become more elaborate, with each region adding its own specialties and cooking techniques to create unique tastes and combinations.
M, 7/8 Day 22 Madrid
Optional Toledo excursion $65
Madrid City Walk
Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, Plaza de España
Details: Madrid City Walk
Life in Madrid is centered around talking, toasting and tapas-eating. In a walk through this crowded and social city, your Tour Director will help you get to know the lay of the land. Then stroll over to the Puerta del Sol, the bustling city center. Next, you'll relax at the Plaza Mayor, a grand square where every sort of human drama has taken place-trails of faith, public burnings of heretics, royal marriages, the canonization of saints and countless balls and bullfights. End at the Plaza de España for a stop at an outdoor café.
T, 7/9 Day 23 End Tour
For more information about this program, contact Nancy VanderMolen at firstname.lastname@example.org, 585 395-5917, Hartwell Room 21B
Dates for Summer 2013: June 17- July 9