New Study Abroad Program Surveys Sustainable Development and Climate Change in Italy

For students interested in learning about sustainable development and climate change while living in the heart of Venice, a new study abroad program makes that dream a reality.

The Georgia Tech Study Abroad program on Sustainable Development and Climate Change in Italy is a five-week, six-credit program that will run from May 28 to June 29, 2018. The program offers two courses:  Sustainable Development (PUPB 3600), which satisfies the ethics requirements, and a course specifically on Climate Change Policy (PUPB 3320).

Alice Favero and Emanuele Massetti, faculty members in the School of Public Policy, co-direct the program. Both lived and worked in Venice before coming to Georgia Tech and have ties with the University of Venice and the surrounding research community.

The idea of teaching two of their regular courses in Venice was driven by the desire to merge a firsthand experience of climate change and sustainable development challenges with seminars and interaction with experts.

“It was not possible to move Venice, the Alps, and six international experts to Tech — so we thought we’d move the students to Italy for the summer,” said Favero.

The program enriches standard course content with many curricular and extracurricular activities in a rich cultural environment. Field trips, meetings with experts, and guided tours will complement in-class activities.

For example, in Rome, students will talk with United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organizations experts about what can be done to provide food for a growing population while respecting the environment. They will learn what causes nations to fail while visiting ancient Roman ruins.

“In Milan and Bologna, students will learn from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change authors how models are used to formulate future climate, economic, and technological scenarios, and they will have a chance to test their own climate policy strategies,” said Massetti. “During a day trip to the Dolomite mountains, an alpine mountain guide will safely guide us close to the remains of a once-large glacier to learn about the impact of climate change on glaciers and how this in turn affects local communities.”

Students will live and study in the heart of Venice in a recently restored (and technologically updated) monastery built in 1423. In addition, students will have access to the University of Venice libraries and Dining Hall, a great way to meet new students and be exposed to a different campus life.

To complete their intercultural experience, students will have long weekends to explore Italy and Europe. Twelve UNESCO world heritage sites are less than two and a half hours away by train, and sandy, warm- water beaches and charming fishing villages are only 20 minutes away.

The deadline to apply for this summer is Feb. 15. For more information, visit the program website or attend the informational session on Tuesday, Jan. 30, from 11 to 11:45 a.m. in Room 104, D.M. Smith Building.

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Alice Favero

Public Policy