Header Iceland Denmark Sweden

In Search of Hygge Through Design and Sustainability in Scandinavia (SUS 249) header

Don’t just see the world. Make it better.

Planet Earth is an amazing place, but it’s far from perfect. When you travel with Dr. Schwarte and Dr. O'Gorman, you will focus on doing good, giving back more than you take away.


MAY 2022


Course Topic:

SUS 249: In Search of Hygge Through Design and Sustainability in Scandinavia (Iceland, Denmark & Sweden)


Locations: Denmark, Iceland, Sweden



3 credits

Course goals:

Students will learn about concepts and styles of architectural design, industrial design and ecological design theories, with specific comparison on Danish and Swedish design components.  Sustainability concepts, theory and history will be taught to students, and reinforced via immersion in two of Europe’s most sustainable countries.  Student exposure to less-tourist-traveled nations like Denmark and Sweden (compared to other European nations) will provide immersion in European cultures that are progressive, yet still rich in history.  The program will enrich students’ ability to “reflect on one’s own values and ideas,” (Maryville College Study Abroad web site).

Students from ALL MAJORS are invited to take the course.  This course is designed to be interdisciplinary with concepts from the following major/minor areas of study: sustainability studies [SUS], art and design [ART] and environmental studies majors [ENV].  Selected learning outcomes from those majors helped guide the course, including:

  • Design [ART]: 

    Understand the philosophy of sustainable design and how it informs professional design practice; 

    Understand major art historical movements, including the history of design, and the broad historical and cultural contexts in which they occurred;

  • Environmental Studies [ENV]: 

    Explore the social and physical dimensions of sustainability from multiple North American and non-Western viewpoints; 

    Show capacity to synthesize interdisciplinary environmental issues, based upon a knowledge base of multiple disciplines;

     Sustainability Studies Minor [SUS]:
    (learning outcomes adopted from the U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development: http://www.uspartnership.org/):

    Each student will be able to define sustainability; 

    Each student will be able to explain how sustainability relates to their lives and their values, and how their actions impact issues of sustainability;  

Course Description:

How does sustainable development impact human behavior, the environment surrounding us, and ultimately, how does it influence one’s personal environmental ethic? Learn about the designed and urban environment in Copenhagen, including both medieval and contemporary sustainability-focused features.  More specifically, the course will immerse students in the process of understanding sustainable urban development and planning by participating in the infrastructure as other Scandinavians do, by riding bicycles on a daily basis within the city.  This course will address socio-economic, mobility, ecological and aesthetic issues surrounding a city that utilizes sustainable urban planning to unify spaces.   


Why consider this course abroad?

  1. It offers both major or elective credit in Sustainability (likely to add ENV, OST too)
  2. Fulfill CD domain requirement (take this class instead of a WRC 370)
  3. Hands on experience with sustainable practices.
  4. Travel with Dr. Schwarte and Dr. O'Gorman and learn from their experiences in these countries
  5. Work on a key competency employers are looking for:




Dr. Adrienne Schwarte
Associate Professor of Art, Chair of Fine Arts
Clayton Center for the Arts


Dr. Mark O'Gorman
Professor of Political Science
Coordinator of Environmental Studies Program
Thaw Hall

Tentative Costs: $4,000 per student (approx.)


Program Fee Includes:

Airfare (approx. $1900)
Local transportation
All excursions & cultural activities (except free days) - including travel to three countries
Some meals 
Travel medical insurance 
$200 deposit 

Not Included:
  • $100 application fee
  • Passport $145
  • Immunizations (http://www.cdc.gov/travel)
    Personal expenses
    Some meals  $360
  • Specialty activities (free days)

*Please note that prices are tentative and may fluctuate based on variation in exchange rates, number of participants, price fluctuations in actual airfares and fuel surcharges, or administrative overhead

  • Highlights:

  • Enjoy human-powered transportation in a city designed for biking, where 55% of Copenhagen residents commute on bikes.  Imagine a day where your carbon footprint can actually be zero and you can breathe some of the cleanest air on the planet. (Copenhagen)

    Lecture from the Happiness Institute

    Think you’ve had a Danish before?  See what REAL Danish pastries taste like in Denmark! (And, yes, they are delicious!) Oh, and you should try the pickled herring too! (All of Denmark!)

    Visit three countries in one program!

  • Take a green bike tour

    Tour Iceland's natural sites including Thingvellir National Park, Eldborg Volcano, the Blue Lagood, and Lake Klefarvatn!
  • Warm up in some natural hot springs
  • Tour a Viking Ship Museum

    Experience the beauty of Scandinavian design, which is highly functional, minimalistic and accessible in the design and photography museums all throughout Denmark and Sweden.  Think IKEA…
  • And - since your parents will ask - tell them you will be visiting three of Europe’s most historic nations.  These countries have been must-visit sites for world travelers for centuries, and these nations set the standard for happy living, rich culture and energy efficient lifestyles.   Remind them you are heading to the land of LEGO and Hamlet (Denmark) and ABBA (Sweden). 

How it Works:

  • Travel with expert faculty members (Dr. Scwarte & Dr. O'Gorman)
  • Travel with a group of Maryville students on a short term study abroad program
  • 3 academic credits
  • This is an interactive learning experience. You are learning about the course topic with the international destination as your classroom.
  • **May-term course & travel**

Who can participate?

You! Travel Study programs are open to sophomores, juniors and seniors.  This program will admit approx.14+ students.

Registration & Application:

Please follow the below instructions to apply for a Travel Study program.  Do not miss our application deadlines!

You may list up to 3 preferences on the  travel study program application. You are encouraged to select more than one site as this improves your chances on being placed on a travel study program.  Only list programs you would be happy to be selected for.  You will be considered first for your first place site.


Selection will be conducted by the faculty leaders. Selection decisions are based upon the entire application packet: application, essay, references, GPA, student conduct, etc. In addition, faculty leaders look for a match between the student's goals and the goals of the programs.  The selection process varies by program, however applicants should be prepared for an interview as part of the acceptance process.

Special Considerations: 

Many locations will not be wheelchair accessible and terrain may be uneven in many places. There will be a moderate amount of walking 2-3 miles at a leisurely pace.  The ability to ride a bicycle prior to travel is important!

Get More Information:

  • Travel Study Program Information Meeting: Meetings will take place during early Fall 2021 (Watch Today@MC for information)
  • Talk to Faculty Leaders about the program you are interested in.
  • Talk to the Center for International Education studyabroad@maryvillecollege.edu 
    @MCScotsAbroad (FB/Insta)


  • Travel Study faculty-led program application form 
  • Due:  ONLINE by October 1 with a $100 application fee.  This fee DOES NOT count towards the cost of the program. 
  • Travel Study scholarship applications will be due to the Center for International Education (International House) by October 1 by 12noon.  Scholarship deadlines will not be extended for late applicants.

Tentative Timeline: MAY 2022

  • Application Available

    Spring 2021

    Apply Online

    Application Deadline

    Tuesday, October 1, Noon

    All online materials, including scholarship application must be submitted by noon

    Interviews Begin

    Monday, October 4  – Friday, October 8

    All students will interview with the faculty leader(s) 

    Notification of Acceptance (and scholarship)

    Monday, October 25

    Via email before 5:00pm

    Confirmation of Acceptance Due

    November 1, Noon

    Confirmation of acceptance with $200 deposit due by 12noon

    Payment 1 Due

    December 1, Noon

    50% of Payment due (Full balance may be paid at this time) before 12noon.

    Final Payment Due

    February 1, Noon

    Remaining balance due

    Mandatory CIE Pre-Departure Orientation


    Three part webinar. Quiz due by Feb 15th.

    Program Specific Pre-Departure Orientation


    As determined by Dr. Beale

Applications received without a $100 application fee will not be considered.  The $100 application fee does not go towards the program fee, but the deposit does.

REFUND POLICY: Students who are not selected will receive a refund of this application fee. Otherwise it is non-refundable. If you decline a place offered to you it is non-refundable.  Visit here for more information on our Travel Study Withdrawal Policies

*Sample Confirmation of Commitment Paperwork you will be asked to sign when you make a deposit.

Worried about your program investment - check out Cancel for Any Reason Trip Interruption insurance (not included)

Apply Now »

U.S. State Department Consular Information Sheet 

Iceland: Level 1 Exercise Normal Precautions https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Iceland.html

Denmark: Level 2 Exercise Increased Caution due to terrorism.

Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Denmark. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, local government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major sporting and cultural events, educational institutions, airports, and other public areas.

Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.


Sweden: Level 1 Exercise Normal Precautions  https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories/sweden-travel-advisory.html 

Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements

  • Denmark is a party to the Schengen Agreement. Visit the Embassy of Denmark website for the most current visa information.

    • Passport should be valid for at least six months beyond your stay. For additional details about travel into and within Schengen countries, please see our Schengen fact sheet.
    • You may enter for Denmark for up to 90 days for tourist purposes without a visa.
    • Further useful information, in English and Danish, can be found on the Danish Immigration Service website
    • If you are a student or prospective student, your student visa allows you to enter 30 days prior to the start of your program and remain for 14 days after the end of your program. More detailed information is available on the Danish Immigration Service website.

    HIV/AIDS Restrictions: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Denmark.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of the United Kingdom.

Visit the Icelandic Directorate of Immigration website for the most current visa information.

Iceland is a party to the Schengen Agreement. This means that U.S. citizens may enter Iceland for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa. Your passport should be valid for at least six months beyond your planned date of departure from the Schengen area. You need sufficient funds and a return airline ticket. For additional details about travel into and within Schengen countries, please see our Schengen fact sheet.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Iceland.

Sweden is a party to the Schengen Agreement. Visit the Embassy of Sweden website for the most current visa information.

Traveling Through Europe: If you are planning to visit or travel through European countries, you should be familiar with the requirements of the Schengen Agreement.

  • Your passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of stay. If you plan on transiting a Schengen country, review our U.S. Travelers in Europe page.
  • You will need sufficient proof of funds and a return plane ticket.
  • For additional information about visas for the Schengen area, see the Schengen Visa page.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Sweden.

CIA World Factbook - Iceland, Denmark & Sweden




Icelandic & Scandinavia Tourism





Lonely Planet Guidebook




Travel Tips







(note: external resources not sponsored by or endorsed by Maryville College)

Map of this  Travel Study Program


Source: Google Maps

Travel Study Application + $100 Fee  Due October 1, 2021

Applications received without a $100 application fee will not be considered.  The $100 application fee does not go towards the program fee, but the deposit does.

Deposit of $200 Fee with Confirmation of Acceptance:    Due November 2, 2021

Application for Faculty-led Programs »

Scholarships Application »