Budapest, Hungary, Prague, Czech Republic, Vienna, Austria

Program Description

What is the meaning of life? Is it discoverable? Is the goal to gain power? Is it simply in finding pleasure? Is it through discerning your personal purpose and mission in life? Throughout time different theories have been proposed to answer this question. What if, in a matter of two weeks, you could ponder these ideas and come to your own conclusion? Would that search have the possibility to change your life? 
In this travel-study course, open to ALL majors and ALL academic levels, students will study principles of cross-cultural psychology. Through examining personal behavior, social institutions, and individual responsibility we will compare the American psychological approach to life with the cultures of Austria, Hungary, and the Czech Republic.  Yes, three countries in 2 weeks! This program is like no other where you are able to combine the phenomenal beauty of the Austrian mountains (think Sound of Music views), yummy Germanic food (apple strudel with vanilla sauce, anyone?), the solemnity of the Holocaust, the world's oldest Zoo, beautiful royal palaces, and classical art and music (Mozart, Stauss, Beethoven). This is truly the trip of a lifetime!!!
The program begins with an 8-week second block class during the Spring Semester designed to prepare students for the travel class. During the second four-week summer session, students will travel to three countries while based in Vienna, Austria. Our hotel is located in the historic, cobblestone center of Vienna, Austria where horses and carriages are a common sight and one block from the beautiful Danube Canal. Amazing food, shopping, museums, cultural sites, as well as outdoor gardens and parks are just outside the hotel's door.

Location Description

Surrounded by the Danube Canal, abounding with luxurious palaces, magnificent churches, phenomenal music, and some of the top museums in the world, Vienna, the capital of Austria, is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. During our class, we will visit many of these sights as well as the homes of Sigmund Freud (yes, the couch is still there) and Viktor Frankl (Holocaust survivor and author of one of the top 10 most influential books of all time, "Man's Search for Meaning"). A day trip to Salzburg, Austria will open your eyes to the beauty of the snow-covered Alps, while along the river, the picturesque town (seriously, look it up) with its Alpine-themed shops will draw you in, to shop both high-end designers and local crafts as well as sample the tasty foods of the region. This town is home to many of the filming sights from the classic movie "The Sound of Music," the oldest (1077 AD) preserved castle in Central Europe, and is renowned as the birthplace of Mozart.

We will also visit the picturesque and historic cities of Prague, Czech Republic, and Budapest, Hungary – two of the top tourist destinations in Eastern Europe. Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, is known for its beautiful Old City center, St. Nicholaus church (yes, Santa Claus is from Prague), Wenceslas Square, Old Castle, and John Lennon Wall. Budapest, the capital of Hungary is actually two cities -Buda and Pest, which are on opposite sides of the Danube River. Pest, the newer city is renowned for its beautiful Parliament building on the river, shopping, thermal baths (these are phenomenal), and cultural sights. Buda, the older town, houses the Czech Republic's White House, the palace-like Fisherman's Bastion, St. Mathais Church (one of the most beautiful churches in Eastern Europe), and amazing traditional crafts from the local craft-makers. Connecting the two cities are numerous bridges including the famous Chain Bridge.
In contrast to this elegance and opulence, we will consider the psychology of power through the lens of the Holocaust. We will consider how advanced, civilized countries could succumb so easily to such overt atrocities. We will explore each country’s Holocaust Memorial, discuss the impact of Nazism on the local populations and, in one of the most powerful experiences of your life, visit Mauthausen Concentration Camp.

Truly this is not just a summer class, this is an opportunity that can not be missed.


Bill Evans | evanswf@jmu.edu | Psychology


Housing will be provided for 14 nights at the elegant Hotel Austria. The hotel offers a magnificent breakfast buffet, a beautiful and peaceful interior terrace, and complimentary Wi-Fi Internet. Students share accommodations in double and triple rooms. The hotel is located in the historic center of Vienna, is adjacent to a major public transportation station, and in close walking proximity to parks, cultural sights, food, and shopping.

ALL meals, ALL lodging, ALL admissions, and ALL in-country transportation are included in the program fee. The hotel provides a buffet breakfast, and all lunches are covered by a weekly meal stipend INCLUDED in the program fee.  Evening meals are experienced together at a wonderful, local, family-run, Austrian restaurant (fresh schnitzel!) and are a part of the daily, required activities; these meals are also covered by the program fee.

Additional Items to Consider

A valid Passport is required.

An active international cell phone plan with both data and text for the extent of the trip is required. Cell phone data as plans in Europe can be expensive – check with your cell phone provider about costs of international calling, data and text plans before traveling.

This program is intended for ALL MAJORS and all levels (Freshmen-Senior). Honors college students are also welcome.

Contact program director prior to the application deadline with any additional questions: Dr. Bill Evans | evanswf@jmu.edu | Professor of Psychology | 1173 Miller Hall

COVID-19 Location Information:

Each country has different requirements upon entry with regard to COVID-19. Please check this website for the most up-to-date information on what is required for the country (or countries) that are part of this program. Please note that this changes often, so we encourage you to check back frequently.

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.0. During the Spring, students will take a 1-credit hour PSYC class (by override only). 

During the summer, students will take a 3-credit hour PSYC 261 or PSYC 461 (not both):

Prerequisites for PSYC 261: PSYC 101 or PSYC 160
Prerequisites for PSYC 461: PSYC Major with at least one PSYC Natural Science & one PSYC Social Science PSYC area class

Open to ALL students, ALL academic levels, and ALL majors

Application Process

This list serves as an application preview. To apply, students will need to complete the following:

  • Study Abroad Online Application ($40 fee)
  • Short essay 
  • Post application interview with Program Director
    (you will be contacted AFTER completed application is received)
  • Official transcript required for non-JMU students

Further details and instructions about these application requirements will be available upon log-in.

 Applications Closed. 

Application Deadline


All dates are tentative and subject to change


PSYC 261: Topics in Psychology: Cross-Cultural Psychology in Austria (3 credits)

PSYC 461: Advanced Topics in Psychology: Cross-Cultural Psychology in Austria (3 credits)

PSYC 202: Directed Studies in Psychology: Cross-Cultural Psychology in Austria Prep Class (1 credit) *Spring 2022

Courses listed here are to be used as a general guideline for program curriculum. *All courses are considered pending until approved by the Academic Department, Program, and/or College.


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