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Travel to Switzerland to fulfill your study abroad requirement!

ESP instructor, Dan Kasper, leads an online course and study abroad opportunity that is a perfect fit for ESP students. Read his note below. Contact Dan Kasper ( or Haley Sankey ( for information regarding the course and the associated trip to Switzerland!


From Dan:

Hello ESP students!  I wanted to make you all aware of an outstanding opportunity to fulfill your foreign studies/internship program requirement by taking an online Renewable Energy course and traveling to Switzerland to learn about and experience renewable energy, energy policy, energy efficiency, sustainability, and Swiss culture.  I will be taking students there from May 17th - 31st of 2019.


I teach two required courses in the ESP Program (EME 444 and EM SC 240N) and also teach at Delaware Technical Community College in Delaware, where I am also the International Education Coordinator. I have developed an online Renewable Energy course at Delaware Tech, which after completed is followed up with a 12+ day trip to Switzerland.  I have taken students - including a few Penn State students - on this experience the past two years, and am returning again this year. The course itself is a great supplement to your ESP education, as you will learn about renewable energy technologies including solar PV, wind, hydroelectric, and biomass. We will also go over some energy policy and energy efficiency, as well as make carbon footprint considerations and calculations. The Penn State students that have traveled with me in the past have found the course to enhance the education they have received in the ESP Program.


But perhaps more importantly, after you complete the course in the spring, the whole class (usually between 12 and 14 people), along with me and another instructor, will spend nearly 13 full days in Switzerland. We will stay in three locations while there. It is difficult to do justice to how beautiful the locations are. You can view my blog from 2015 here, and a student from the 2016 course here. Both will give you a very good idea of what the travel portion of the course entails.


We will stay in 3 different locations, all in the north and central part of the country (and near or in the Alps, as you will see in the pictures!). The three locations are Lucerne (a small medieval-era city near the Alps), Interlaken (a small town tucked into the Alps), and Zurich (Switzerland's largest city). About half the time you are there, you will have free time to explore the environs. Switzerland is one of the safest and most beautiful countries in the world, and the students always have a great time exploring.


For the energy/cultural experiences, we will spend three days being driven around in an electric bus powered (mostly) by renewable energy.  Switzerland gets about 60% of its electricity from hydroelectric, and we will see multiple facilities first-hand. We will also get a tour of a solar thermal installation, deep underground geothermal storage at ETH Zurich (the "MIT" of Switzerland), a biomass generation facility, cooperative/ultra-efficient housing, and more!  While in Zurich, we will talk to folks that helped develop Zurich's 2000 Watt Society Plan, in which they intend to achieve a sustainable carbon footprint by 2050. We will also meet with some folks from Zurich's utility to tour some of their novel energy facilities. We will also visit a Swiss cookie factory (as awesome as it sounds) and have multiple authentic Swiss meals. We will dine with a farming family in a UNESCO biosphere reserve, and visit and meet other locals.


In terms of cost, the whole experience is $3400, which included airfare, all in-country transportation, lodging, tours, all breakfasts and multiple other meals, and student health insurance. In addition, you will register and pay for a 3-credit course at Delaware Tech. The registration process is very easy.  It can be done online.  Out-of-state tuition at Delaware Tech is $373.75/credit, significantly lower than Penn State's, which is a nice fringe benefit since the credits transfer.  You will of course have to have a valid passport, and it cannot expire prior to 6 months after the arrival date in Switzerland.


The course itself will take place over 15 weeks in the spring. It runs from January 14th - May 3rd.  It is entirely online, and is run in a similar way to your ESP courses.  It will help if you have taken EGEE 102 or at least have some prior knowledge regarding energy and energy sources, and Microsoft Excel proficiency is a plus. The Math requirement is minimal - you just need to be proficient enough to take college-level Algebra.  We can discuss prerequisites if you have questions.


I have attached the brochure, and the application is coming very soon. The application process is pretty easy, and most of it can be done online. I can help you through the process.


Enrolments officially start on Monday, November 5th, but I would leave at least a week to get the ball rolling and get me the application. The sooner you contact me the better, as spots are limited.


You must make a $200 non-refundable down payment when you enroll, and the rest of the payments are stretched out over the next four months. The rest is generally refundable prior to 90 days before departure.


Okay, so if you are interested - even remotely so - please contact me!  I am happy to go over any course and travel details. If you are interested, I could most likely put you in touch with students who have traveled with me in the past, so you can get their perspective.


 I can say from experience and from feedback from previous students that this experience is very relevant to your ESP Program, and wonderful in general. The scenery really is breathtaking, and we get to see and experience a variety of what Switzerland has to offer.  


 Thanks so much for taking the time to read this. I hope to hear from you soon!


 Best Regards,

 Dan Kasper


EM SC 240N - Energy and Sustainability in Contemporary Culture

EME 444 - Global Energy Enterprise


View the Brochure here.

Application coming soon!