Study Abroad

Grand Tour

The “Grand Tour” is a self-reflective, historically informed, and musically illustrated learning and travel experience that engages with aesthetics and ethics:

  • What? A unique class & travel experience combining music history & sustainability.
  • Who? 8-12 UNCG students and 2 UNCG faculty.
  • When? On-campus spring-term + 5 (or 6) weeks summer travel: May 7, 2018, to June 12 (or June 19).
  • How (much)? $6000 (or $7000)+airfare+extras (financial aid eligible).
  • Where? U.K., France, Italy (Venice, Bologna, Naples, Rome, etc.).

Highlights include:

  • Experiencing world-class operas in historical theaters (La Scala, La Fenice, San Carlo).
  • Using various types of public transportation (high speed and regional trains, local buses, subways, boats).
  • Walking tours in major tourist cities (Venice, Rome) in interesting areas that are “off the beaten path.”
  • Visiting cities rich in history that have a lively student culture due to great universities (Padova, Bologna)
  • Eating in restaurants that serve healthy, local, seasonal, typical, organic, affordable, sustainable, real food (pasta, pizza, coffee and wine of course, but also prosciutto, mozarella di buffala, piadine, fiori di zucca, polenta, stinco, and lots of other wonderful things).
  • Seeing historical monuments (Colosseum! Pantheon!) and beautiful natural areas (parks, rivers, mountains, beaches).
  • Learning about Italian history and culture (music, food, travel, nature, sustainability) while relating it to contemporary issues and experiences.
  • Developing your skills of group and independent travel.

The class and trip are open to and relevant for any UNCG students (graduate and undergraduate).Degree credit is available for students in environmental and sustainability studies, any majors or minors in music, and in sustainable tourism and hospitality.


DESCRIPTION [from 2016 version]

Here is the brochure (pdf) from the 2016 class.

Embark on a historical and artistic recreation of the “Grand Tour” experience!  Join us for a spring 2016 on-campus class followed by three weeks of summer travel through Italy as we explore the major sites that the 17th- and 18th-century “Grand Tourists” visited.

The main theme of our tour will be the favorite activity of the Grand Tourists: music. In the summer travel portion of the course , we’ll attend concerts and operas in most cities we visit; we’ll also visit museums and archaeological sites, including Pompeii, whose rediscovery and excavation in 1748 was an astonishing revelation.  During the spring semester portion of the course, we will explore in advance (through study, lectures, presentations, and discussion) the music and places that we will visit over the summer.  We will arrive in Milan via the decidedly modern conveyance of an airplane but then use trains and boats to travel from city to city—one highlight is arriving into Venice by canal boat.  In addition to music, another theme will be sustainable travel: efficient public transportation, low-impact accommodations, Slow Food dining, and an exploration of local Italian nature, history, and culture beyond mass tourism.

This course takes place in two parts. Part 1 is a 3-credit spring-term class in which we will explore the historical phenomenon of the Grand Tour through the study of the documents, music, and literature of the period; we will also examine the modern impact of travel and the solutions offered by sustainable tourism. (Course work includes reading and listening, short papers and presentations, and a final paper in lieu of exam.) Part 2 is the travel component: this is also a 3-credit course, but the final grade (pass/not pass) will be submitted only after our travel is complete in mid-June. (Course work includes short travel assignments and a reflective project upon completion of travel in lieu of exam.) Program cost for only Part 2 is $4,000 and includes all intra-European travel (train, boat, public transit), all lodging (hostels, 1- and 2-star hotels), at least one Slow Food meal per day (and typically also breakfast), and most attractions (museums, tours, tickets to operas/concerts). The program cost does not include airfare.  You may apply for and use your regular financial aid.

Students may take the on-campus class (Part 1) without the travel component (Part 2). But students who wish to travel in the summer must register for both Parts: the on-campus class as well as the travel component. The class and trip are open to students (undergraduate and graduate) in all majors. It is especially of interest to students in anthropology, art and art history, classics, English, environmental and sustainability studies, geography, history, music, Romance languages, sustainable tourism and hospitality, as well as other related fields. The courses can count for credit (usually elective) in various music degrees (undergraduate and graduate), the B.A. in sustainable tourism and hospitality, the B.A. or minor in environmental studies, and the minor in sustainability studies.

For more information, contact: Dr. Kailan Rubinoff or Dr. Aaron S. Allen. UNCG reserves the right to cancel or modify the program’s content, or to change costs in case of conditions beyond its control.