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Programs : Brochure

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Program Description:





  • 18 years of age or above
  • Good academic and disciplinary standing at Penn State
  • 2.75 cumulative GPA or better at the time of application
  • Rising Sophomore standing or above at the start of the program 
  • Students who are accepted into the program are required to enroll in a web-based, 1.5 credit, pre-departure course (STS 115), beginning upon acceptance into the program during the Spring Semester.
  • For more information or to enroll in this program, please email:

Program Description 

Participants of this program will learn how to deliver effective technical presentations in a European setting and are introduced to Italian language, and the culture of northern Italy and Switzerland’s Italian language-speaking canton of Ticino. Students will stay in Como near the foot of the Alps in Italy’s stunning Lake District with frequent travel across the border to Switzerland. This program includes explorations of nearby villages and cities where participants will learn about local economies, products, customs, history, and traditions.

The College of Engineering heavily subsidizes this program and has removed the program fee entirely to increase access and inclusion for Engineering students studying abroad. 


Summer: May 7 - May 28, 2023

Program Leaders

Program Leader Information

  • Patrick Tunno, Assistant Teaching Professor; Director, Office of Global Engineering Engagement
  • Peter Miraldi, Teaching Professor, Department of Communication Arts and Sciences
  • Lori Miraldi, Director, Engineering Ambassadors Program


Course Descriptions

Pre-Departure Course (1.5 credit)
After committing to this program, Science, Technology, and Society (STS) 115 will be automatically added to each student participant’s spring enrollment. Participation in this 1.5-credit course is required and will support pre-departure preparation and intercultural learning. Note this course will be delivered asynchronously, with several evening meetings to accommodate individual schedules.
ENGR 197, Cross-cultural Engagement and Technical Presentation for Engineers (3 credits)
This course is designed to help students research, develop, and deliver effective technical presentations to cross-cultural audiences. Students will experience immersive cultural activities and academic tours/site visits from which they will develop presentations. In addition, students will explore technical solutions to social problems that they can present to relevant industries and organizations abroad. Throughout the course, students will gain and employ language skills to collaborate and present with students from other countries. Participants will gain insights into cultural differences among presentation styles and develop their competencies in cross-cultural communication. This course has been approved as an equivalency for CAS 100.

ENGR 197, Experiential Intercultural Learning (1.5 credits) is the in-country portion to allow students to build upon meaningful connections between the program’s technical content and critical issues in the global context, including local language, culture, behaviors, and society. While abroad, students will demonstrate how technically-focused excursions relate to a global context. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the host country culture, drawing comparisons with their own cultures. Students will engage with locals in both Italian and English.

These courses (STS 115, 1.5 credits + ENGR 197, 1.5 credits) collectively will fulfill 3 credits toward GS requirements

Course Selection

Students are required to take the prescribed courses listed above as participants on the program. To determine how these courses will fit into your degree requirements, you will need to work with your academic adviser. Suggested tips:
  • Research courses offered on your program
  • Meet with your academic adviser to discuss potential courses abroad and your degree requirements
  • Keep in mind that courses abroad may change or may be unavailable for your selected term, so you will need to discuss possible back-up course options

Academic Policies

  • You must be enrolled in 4.5 credits for the international portion and 1.5 credits for the required pre-departure course.
  • You cannot take any courses abroad on a Pass/Fail basis
  • If you are studying abroad in your final semester at Penn State, please note that Penn State may not receive your grades in time for graduation

Housing and Meals


Housing will be provided by the program, with Penn State students living together. 


The program will provide some group meals, however students should expect to cover the cost for majority of their food. During official class excursions, including overnight travel, all transportation and lodging will be covered by the program.

Costs and Funding

Program Costs

For more information on program costs, please be sure to review the budget sheet. These budget sheets include information on costs that are billable to the bursar bill, as well as estimated additional costs. Costs vary by program, so it is important to review this information carefully.


The Education Abroad Office awards a number of grants and scholarships to students who participate in an education abroad program through Global Programs. The application for the scholarships awarded through the Education Abroad Office is included with your program application. Eligibility is based on academic merit and/or financial need. You must have a current FAFSA on file to be awarded. There are additional scholarship opportunities through our partner universities, Penn State Academic Departments, and other sources. To view a full list of scholarships, eligibility requirements, and deadlines visit Funding Study Abroad.

For Engineering-specific funding, you may contact for further information.

Student Aid

Penn State students who plan to study on a Penn State approved program can use most forms of financial aid towards the cost of the program. Exceptions include work-study awards and some athletic scholarships. If you have specific questions regarding your aid awards, contact the Penn State Office of Student Aid.

Withdrawal & Refund Policy

Withdrawal and refund details are dependent on the timing and reason for your withdrawal from a Penn State Education Abroad Program. For specific details and steps on how to withdraw, read the Education Abroad Policies. Note that the below may not be applicable to this virtual experience.

After Commitment

Once a student has committed to a Penn State Education Abroad program, they are financially responsible for any fees incurred on their behalf. Therefore, if a student plans to withdraw from a program it is their responsibility to immediately notify the Education Abroad office, in writing; email is preferred.

Regardless of the timing or reason for the withdrawal, the student will be responsible for paying the Education Abroad Administrative Fees. For faculty-led freestanding programs, there is a specific withdrawal penalty schedule. 

Education Abroad makes every attempt at keeping the program and administrative costs to a minimum. However, when you commit to participating in a program, Education Abroad begins to make financial commitments on your behalf. In case of withdrawal, the following fees will be charged to your Bursar account

  • Upon Commitment - 90 Days Prior to Departure: 25% Program Fee + EA Admin Fee 

  • 30 - 89 Days Prior to Departure: 50% Program Fee + EA Admin Fee 

  • 29 Days - Departure Date: 100% Program Fee + EA Admin Fee

Following the start of the summer semester, any adjustment of tuition charges will be made according to the Tuition Adjustment Schedule as determined by the Office of the Bursar. More information can be found on the University Senate Policy on Withdrawal and Leave of Absence.

After the Start of the Program

If a student withdraws after the start of a program, any adjustment of Penn State tuition charges will be made according to the Tuition Adjustment Schedule as determined by the Office of the Bursar. Students may be responsible for up to 100% of program costs. In most cases, partial credit cannot be awarded for leaving a program before its successful completion.

For additional information on withdrawal policies, separate and apart from financial consequences, please consult the University Senate Policy on Withdrawal and Leave of Absence.

Life Abroad

General Information

Studying abroad can be one of the most exciting and transformative experiences of your college career. It is an opportunity to develop independence, build cross-cultural competencies, grow as a person, and enhance your academic program. Entering a new culture can be challenging for everyone. You may ask yourself: is this the right country for me? What are their cultural norms? How will my identity be perceived there? What can I do to prepare for this experience? What will my daily life be like? Below are resources to help you answer these questions.

Accessibility Considerations

Penn State Education Abroad works closely with campus resources and our partner institutions around the world to ensure that students of all abilities reach their goal of studying abroad. While we cannot guarantee the accessibility of all program sites and locations, specific accommodations may be arranged on an individual basis. If you have accommodation needs or further questions please consult with the Student Disability Resources office and your Education Abroad Adviser. Additional resources are available through the Global Programs Website. Disability information will not be used during the admissions process, but rather is meant to provide students with resources to help in planning a successful experience abroad.

Gender and LGBTQA Considerations 

There are dramatic and subtle differences in how gender, identity, sexual expression, and sexual health are perceived in different countries. Before going abroad, it is important that you research the specific country or countries you will be visiting and have a full understanding of their cultural norms. Below are some resources to help you with that research and provide guidance for your life abroad.

Race, Ethnicity, and Faith Considerations 

When choosing a study abroad location and preparing for your travels, you will want to be mindful of how your experience will be different than what you are used to in the United States. Your racial, ethnic, and spiritual identities may be interacted with and labeled by others differently than what you expect. Here are resources to help you prepare for these differences.

Non-U.S. Citizens

It is possible for non-U.S. Citizens to study abroad through Penn State. To do so successfully, you must plan early because this process may involve obtaining visas and other governmental procedures. Check with your DISSA Adviser prior to committing to a study abroad program and speak with your Education Abroad Adviser for specific information on the host country. If you plan on traveling to other countries during your study abroad experience, you will need to research and make plans to adhere to immigration policies for all of the countries that you plan to travel to and through. You are responsible for applying for visas for all applicable countries on your own. Advisers in the Education Abroad office cannot apply for your visa for you. Additional information may be available through your country's embassy and the consulate for your study abroad country.

Next Steps

Steps to Study Abroad

The planning stages outlined on the Global Programs website will help you have the best study abroad experience possible. We recommend that you begin this process at least one year prior to the semester you plan on studying abroad. Visit the Steps to Study Abroad section of the Global Penn State website.

How to Apply

Click the “Apply Now” button on this page to get started!

Application procedures can vary by program. Students should consult the application instructions available within each application. For more information, see the Application Process section of the Global Penn State website.


You must apply to this program by the Penn State priority deadline, January 20. For a list of deadlines visit the Application Process page of the Global Programs website.
Como, Italy Program Application Timeline
Application Deadline January 20
Students Notified of Decision January 29
Commitment Deadline February 5
Penn State Global Scholarships Notification February 16

Contact Education Abroad

If you have general questions about Education Abroad opportunities at Penn State, please email

Peer Advisers

Education Abroad Peer Advisers are Penn State study abroad returnees who advise students on education abroad opportunities at Penn State. Each Peer Adviser can explain program options, give an overview of the study abroad process, as well as provide information about their experience abroad. Peer Advisers have walk-in hours in Boucke Building during the fall and spring semester when classes are in session. For more information, visit the Education Abroad Peer Adviser website.

Education Abroad Advisers

Education Abroad Advisers can provide information about courses, support services, application processes, housing details, program costs, cultural expectations, pre-departure requirements, and much more. Education Abroad Advisers have two types of meetings - scheduled appointments and walk-ins. For more information about how to meet with an Education Abroad Adviser, please visit the Global Penn State website.

Social Media

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For information about upcoming events, scholarship opportunities, deadlines, and much more visit the Global Programs Events Calendar and follow us on social media!

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2023 01/20/2023
01/29/2023 05/07/2023 05/27/2023
NOTE: Start date marks arrival in host country. End date marks departure from program housing.

Indicates that deadline has passed