Switzerland Banner



(Geneva, Bern, Lucerne, & Zurich)


PSY/INT/SOC/NSC 249 Global Child Welfare header


3 credits

Course Structure: 

Spring 2021 semester course with travel during Spring Break 2021

Course Description:


This is a semester-long course examining global child welfare, including topics related to food insecurity, health, trauma, and resilience. Since Switzerland hosts some of the world’s most influential organizations working to improve the lives of children around the world, students will visit global organizations within Switzerland including the United Nations, World Health Organization, Doctors Without Borders, and the International Red Cross. In the context of studying international development aid, students will examine issues of intercultural competence, communication, and the social, economic, and political implications grassroots vs. global aid.  Students will examine the ways in which Switzerland evolved as a hub for global humanitarian efforts and will compare that with the humanitarian needs and efforts of the United States.

 Students will also enjoy time to explore some of Switzerland’s most notable cities (Gruyéres, Geneva, Bern, Lucerne, and Zurich) and reflect at the top of one of its highest mountain peaks (Mt. Titlus). For example, students will examine how Berne—Switzerland’s capital city and UNESCO World Heritage Site—meets the criteria of UNICEF’s Child Friendly Cities Initiative. After previously touring Blount County’s juvenile detention facility, students will conclude their study abroad experience with a visit to Zurich’s Juvenile Detention Center.

Course Goals:


As a result of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Explain the complex nature of childhood trauma and resilience, including an understanding of the humanitarian needs and efforts of the United States;
  2. Articulate how Switzerland evolved as a hub for global humanitarian efforts, the ways in which improved rates of child mortality can largely be attributed to international aid, and the psychological and sociological interrelationships between individual need, culture, and international aid;
  3. Experience new cultural sites and practices through research, observation, engagement, multi-media documentation, and reflection; and 4) demonstrate competence in various modes of travel and navigation (plane, bus, train, tram, taxi, gondola, walking) and independent, self-guided engagement with local residents, food, currency, and maps.

Why Switzerland?


According to Tourism Switzerland these are 2 answers to this question:

  • Discover unspoiled nature and breathtaking scenery in the heart of the Alps, including the most attractive peaks and stunning vistas. Enjoy Switzerland, its mountains, lakes and rivers the active way, with all imaginable summer and winter sports. 
  • Romantic alleyways, people in love with life, designer boutiques and modern architecture are all within easy walking distance. Swiss cities offer a wealth of museums, shopping and entertainment—convenient and authentic.

With four national languages and thriving economics, Switzerland is also distinct for its cultural diversity, contrasting traditional and highly modern lifestyles, and stunning scenery. Switzerland consistently earns the top rank of “Best Countries” (US News & World Report, 2019) based on criteria related to adventure, citizenship, cultural influence, entrepreneurship, heritage, movers, open for business, power, and quality of life. Therefore, it provides an interesting comparison to the United States regarding its history related to human rights, political power, education, innovation, and economic influence.  As the hub for international humanitarian efforts, it provides an ideal location to better learn about the global needs of children and families around the world.  

Why consider this course abroad?


  1. It offers both major/minor related credit in Psychology, Sociology, International Studies & Neuroscience (or elective credit)
  2. Fulfill CD Domain credit (take this class instead of WRC 370)
  3. Travel with  Dr. Schratter & Dr. Schmied and learn from their experiences overseas
  4. Site visits to several international organizations
  5. Work on a key competency employers are looking for:




Dr. Ariane Schratter, Professor of Psychology


Dr. Lori Schmied, Profeessor of Psychology, Coordinator of Neurosciences


"Famous landmarks everywhere you look: the variety of different sights to see in Switzerland is truly incredible. Discover glaciers, mountain worlds, rivers and impressive buildings. Or explore museums and institutions that especially symbolise our country’s identity." - myswitzerland.com 


Day 1: Depart for Geneva, Switzerland

Day 2: Arrival in Geneva. Orientation, hotel check in and Welcome Dinner.

Day 3: Train to Gruyere.  Tour of La Maison de Gruyere to learn about cheese production.  Factory tour and chocolate tasting at World of Chocolate Cailler-Nestle.

Day 4: Visit to the World Health organization (WHO), and United Nations Office.

Day 5: Visits to Doctors without Borders & Research unit on Humanitarian Stakes & Practices.  Visit to UNICEF or la Comite international de la Croix-Rouge.

Day 6 Geneva - Bern - Lucerne - Engelberg.  Time to explore Bern (Kinderfreundliche Gemeinde - UNICEF's Child Friendly Community) and Lucerne. Finish the day in Engelberg.

Day 7: Visit to the top of Mount Titlis.  See cheese making at Engelberg's Benedictine Monastery established in 1120.  Finish with a typical Swiss Alplermagronen dinner and torchlit walk.

Day 8: Travel to Zurich. Visit the Correctional Centre for Treatments of Juvenile and Young Adult Offenders.

Day 9: Guided tour through the Swiss National Museum.   Sites to explore in Zurich - St. Peter’s Church (Zurich’s oldest parish church), the Grossmünster Church dating to the 11thCentury,and the shoreline of Lake Zurich.

Day 10: Departure from Zurich to the USA.


Highlights of MC in Switzerland

Visit many international organizations, such as the World Health Organization, the United Nations and the International Committee on the Red Cross

Experience a Swiss justice center for youth and young offenders

Explore four of Switzerland’s most notable cities, including Geneva, Berne, Lucerne, and Zurich

Visit the top of Mt. Titlis and experience the Alpen way of life

Travel with your friends and two Maryville College professors while earning three credits 


Approximate Costs: $3,950* 


The Program Fee includes:

         Roundtrip Airfare
         Local transportation
        $200 deposit
         Cultural and professional excursions
         Some meals
         Travel medical insurance

Eight breakfasts, one lunch, and three dinners are included in the cost. 

Not included: 

$100 Application fee
 Lunches and most dinners (approximately $500)
Personal expenses

For the approximate 10 remaining meals, students will be provided an estimate for the minimum amount suggested. Various food options (including grocery stores, train station vendors, department stores, coffee shops, restaurants) provide a wide range of food costs.

*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.

Be sure to apply for the MC Travel-Study Scholarship!

How it Works:

  • Travel with expert faculty members (Dr. Schratter and Dr. Schmied)
  • 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.
  • **Spring 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: 

The minimum level of fitness required for the travel component is approximately five miles of walking per day. Students with limited mobility or mobility-aids (e.g., wheelchair) will require special accommodations, which the more rural regions (e.g., Engelberg) may not be able to adequately accommodate.

Get More Information:

  • Travel Study Program Information Meeting: Meetings will take place during early Fall 2020 (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/Instagram)


  • 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:


Application Available Now Apply Online
Application Deadline October 1, noon All online materials, including scholarship application must be submitted by 12noon
Interviews Begin October 5 - 9 All students will interview with the faculty leader(s)
Notification of Acceptance (and scholarship) Monday, October 26 Via email before 5:00pm
Confirmation of Acceptance Due November 2, noon Confirmation of acceptance with $200 deposit due by 12noon
Payment 1 Due December 1, noon 50% of payment due by 12noon
Final Payment Due February 1, noon Remaining balance due (full balance must be paid at this time)
Mandatory CIE Orientation 3 part WEBINAR Required for all participants. Quiz due by Feb 15th
Program Specific Pre-departure TBD Part of Spring 2021 class


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 

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

Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements

  • Visit the website of the Embassy of Switzerland in Washington, D.C. 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 or foreign residents in Switzerland.

  • Find information on dual nationalityprevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.

CIA World Factbook - Switzerland


Switzerland Tourism


Lonely Planet Guidebook


Travel Tips







https://bucketlistjourney.net/geneva-bucket-list-15-things-to-do-in-switzerlands-second-largest-city/ (Good suggestions after the helicopter ride ...)

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

Map of this  Travel Study Program

 Google Map Switzerland

Source: Google Maps

Travel Study Application + $100 Fee  Due October 1

Deposit of $200 Fee with Confirmation of Acceptance:    Due November 1

Application for Faculty-led Programs »

Scholarships Application »