You can get by with spending very little of your own money. So if things are tight, don’t worry. Obviously if you can spend a little more, there are a few things that you may enjoy doing.

Covered

  1. You have your flight allowance from the program. This allowance can be used for your flights only (not lodging, meals, nor other travel-related expenses).
    • You may purchase the flight yourself and request reimbursement, BUT: if you do so, you will not be eligible to REQUEST reimbursement until AFTER you have traveled. Then that request must be processed… You may not get your reimbursement until July!
    • Probably best to let us buy the flight for you.
  2. ALL TRANSPORTATION DURING THE PROGRAM
    • The 2nd Sunday will have some free time, if you choose to go to a nearby city, you will have to pay for this transportation yourself.
  3. Meals (this is subject to minor changes as our itinerary develops)
    • the following meals are covered:
      • Sunday: dinner
      • Monday: all meals
      • Tuesday: breakfast and dinner
      • Wednesday: all meals
      • Thursday: breakfast and dinner
      • Friday: breakfast and lunch
      • Saturday: all meals
      • Sunday: all meals
      • Monday: all meals
      • Tuesday: all meals
      • Wednesday: all meals
      • Thursday: breakfast, lunch bag to-go prepared by wonderful kitchen staff
    • Meals you need to pay for yourself:
      • Tuesday: lunch ~ 15-20 CHF
        • have physical swiss francs “CHF”
      • Thursday: lunch/snacks for train ride down to Riva S. Vitale ~ 15-20 CHF
        • credit card or CHF
      • Friday: coffee, apertivo and/or dinner in Milan, bottle(s) of wine to bring back. This could be a wide range depending on your choices ~ 20-50+ EUR for the day
        • credit card or Euro

Currency

  1. Switzerland uses Swiss Francs.
    1. places are pretty good about accepting credit cards. Maybe get 20-50 CHF cash just to have something.
  2. Most of Europe (including 2 places we will visit during GPP: Strasbourg, France and Milan, Italy) use Euro. You will need euro or credit card in Milan especially since we have free time there.
  3. If there is something on the schedule as “free time” it means you should be prepared to pay for things you want during that time (notable exception: your trains back to Riva from Milan are covered by the program).

Plastic

note: you must call your banks in advance of traveling and tell them what countries you will be in and when (e.g. Switzerland, France, Italy) or your credit card/debit card may not work in those countries!

The following info was provided by Michael, my predecessor, and I am passing it along, although I cannot verify or endorse any of it 🙂

I hate most banks. That being said, 2 of them make my international travel easier:

  1. Charles Schwab Debit Card (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
    1. this account has no minimum balance or fees
    2. it has UNLIMITED atm fee rebates (use ANY ATM, and they will reimburse you for that machine’s fee!)
    3. it has NO FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEES
  2. Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa credit card (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
    1. it has no foreign transaction fees
    2. it has all kinds of nice bonuses.

Expenses

Participants have been asked over the years about how much they have spent. Some have reported spending as little as $200 of their own money. On the high end, some who admit choosing to be more spendy, have spent closer to $650.

  1. Europe
    1. Your flight should really not cost you anything as long as you can book it relatively early (no one ever knows how flights will trend, some article said for international travel, try to book no later than 60 days in advance).
    2. You really should arrive no later than Saturday, just to make sure that inclement weather or other issues do not make you miss the first day of our program. The program does not provide you lodging for Saturday night.
    3. A couple lunches and a dinner (see meals in the “Covered” section above)
    4. After-program socializing
      1. some evenings during the program when our schedule ends after dinner (9-11pm) you may be interested in going “out” for a short while with members of your cohort for drinks or walking or snacking. Whatever cost you incur is your own.
    5. Travel before/after our program.
    6. Gifts you may want to bring back for people.
  2. USA
    1. We will have an event at the Swiss Embassy to the USA in Washington, D.C. You will most likely need to book lodging for a single night for this event. More information will be provided to participants as the details are finalized.
      1. Most years people share hotel rooms or an AirBnB
      2. The graduate school will rent a van to shuttle people to and from DC.

Sample Budget

The following is an estimate of the costs a participant could expect during the European stage of the program. Costs for gifts or souvenirs are not included here. Actual costs will vary.

  • $50 Application fee for the VT Global Education Office
  • $60 – Bus/Train from Blacksburg to Washington D.C. for flight to Zürich OR $10 Transportation from Alexandria, VA to airport
  • $4 – Train from Zurich Airport (Flughafen) to Zurich Main Train Station (Hauptbahnhof or HB)
  • $100 – Stay in Zürich for Saturday night before GPP begins
  • $25 – Food in Zürich before GPP begins
  • $15 – Lunch on Tuesday in Basel
  • $15 – Lunch/Snacks for train ride from Basel to Riva San Vitale
  • $25 – Dinner in Milan
  • $75 – Train ticket from Riva San Vitale to Zürich airport
  • $60 – Bus/Train from Washington D.C. to Blacksburg OR $10 Transportation from airport to Alexandria, VA
  • Total Costs $429