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SwitzerlandScience Innovation in the Swiss Alps

Immerse yourself in diverse and cutting-edge scientific research this summer in three distinct regions of Switzerland, a country renowned for its cultural offerings, dramatic landscapes, and leading laboratories. On this high school travel program, meet with researchers in physics, biotechnology, astronomy, and climate science. See firsthand how their work is addressing some of the world’s most pressing challenges, expand your understanding of scientific advances, and explore possible career paths in science and technology.


July 1–July 14, 2023July 15–July 28, 2023
14 days
$ 7,690 + airfare
Departs from New York
14-16 students, 2 leaders


  • Raft down the mighty River Lütschine into the turquoise Interlaken
  • Work alongside robotics researchers at the Bern University of Applied Sciences
  • See firsthand how biotech is changing how we view the human brain
  • Travel up to the Jungfraujoch to meet with climate scientists

Meet featured leaders

Featured Experts

Joe Palca, Science Writer (July 1 departure)

Joe Palca is a science correspondent for NPR. He comes to journalism from a science background, having received a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of California at Santa Cruz where he worked on human sleep physiology. Since joining NPR in 1992, Palca has covered a range of science topics—everything from biomedical research to astronomy. He is currently focused on the eponymous series, “Joe’s Big Idea.” Stories in the series explore the minds and motivations of scientists and inventors. He is also founder of the NPR Scicommers program, a collective of science communicators. Joe has also worked as a television science producer, a senior correspondent for Science Magazine, and Washington news editor of Nature. He has won numerous awards, several of which came with attractive certificates. With Flora Lichtman, Joe is the co-author of Annoying: The Science of What Bugs Us.

Richard Harris, Science Journalist (July 15 departure)

Richard Harris has spent his career as a journalist reporting about science. For 35 years, he was a science correspondent at National Public Radio. He has traveled to all seven continents, reporting from the South Pole, the Galapagos Islands, Timbuktu (at the edge of the Sahara Desert), Beijing, Japan (in the wake of the 2011 tsunami and nuclear meltdowns), the heart of the Amazon rain forest, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, Greenland, and even the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, where he traveled by minisub to examine the aftermath of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil-well blowout. Richard also wrote Rigor Mortis, a book about the challenges facing biomedical research, in particular why it is often difficult for one lab to confirm results reported by another. Richard has a BA in Biology from the University of California- Santa Cruz and started his career as a newspaper reporter in California, where he grew up. He has won many journalism awards for his work covering science, medicine, the environment and technology..


This itinerary represents our best projection of the group’s schedule. However, we may implement changes designed to improve the quality of the program, or to accommodate seasonal differences between departures.

  • Departure
  • Travel Day

Meet your fellow high school student travelers and one or more of your leaders in New York, and fly together to Geneva, Switzerland. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

  • Geneva
  • 4 days

Begin in Geneva and get to know your peers and leaders with a group orientation. Visit biogen labs at Campus Biotech to understand the future meshing of carbon-based biology and silicon-based technology, and then dip into Swiss culture with a hands-on workshop at one of the oldest chocolate-making houses in Geneva. Take a lakefront train to the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne—Switzerland’s leading research university—and meet with scientists who blended computer engineering with forms from nature to create the world’s fastest bicycle.

  • Bern
  • 3 days

Next, travel north to learn from professors at the Bern University of Applied Sciences about robotics. Delve into the latest theories behind technology-enhanced communication and how humans communicate with robots. Discuss the human brain’s attempts to keep up with the evolution and performance of the machines we’ve invented, while exploring spaces designed for optimum collaboration between robotic and human workers.

  • Interlaken
  • 5 days

Slow down and relax on the shores of Interlaken, two lakes joined by the Aare River and ringed by snow-covered peaks. Explore the nearby valley by bicycle, ride on the elegantly engineered Schilthorn Cableway, or raft down the rapids of the River Lütschine. Then ascend by train to the Jungfraujoch, the highest railway station in Europe. Here, with the dramatic Jungfrau and Eiger peaks as a backdrop, meet with climate scientists who research the effects of climate change on the Alps’ glaciers. Take an evening trip to a nearby high-elevation observatory for an astronomy discussion and observation of celestial bodies. Present your independent project to your group and enjoy a final celebratory meal, reflecting on your experiences together and what you’ve learned.

  • Return
  • Travel Day

Fly from Geneva, Switzerland, to New York with your group and a leader, then continue on to your final destination. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

“It was so great to be experiencing new things and learning about new places again!”

— Kedhar B., Passaic County Technical Institute, Wayne, NJ

A Day in the Life: Geneva

  • Due to the dynamic nature of this summer program abroad, each day is different. Here is a snapshot of what a day in Geneva might look like.
  • Eat a hearty Swiss breakfast at your hotel with your group
  • Ride the city’s tram to Campus Biotech for meetings with biotechnology lab researchers
  • Join scientists for lunch at Campus Biotech’s cafeteria
  • Stroll along the Lake Geneva shoreline and take a water taxi to a lakeside café
  • Join award-winning chocolatiers for a hands-on chocolate-making workshop
  • Enjoy some downtime at the hotel and work on your independent project
  • Walk to a neighborhood restaurant and sample Swiss favorites like rösti and fondue
  • Meet as a group to reflect on the day and discuss tomorrow’s schedule

What to Expect

  • Workshop Theme

Physics, Biology, & Robotics • Throughout your program in Switzerland, you will interact daily with researchers, instructors, and university students in their various scientific fields. The labs we visit are expressly committed to science education, and the researchers we meet are excited to work with students, passionate about their fields, and committed to educating the next generation of science leaders, particularly from underrepresented groups. A typical day will involve a laboratory visit followed by a hands-on activity designed to immerse you in the scientists’ work. Scientists will often join us for a meal, coffee, or small-group discussion after our visit, when a more informal talk about a life in science is possible.

  • Independent Project

In addition to the topics explored during daily activities and workshops, students pursue an independent project that allows you to delve deeper into a scientific subject that interests you. Explore the ethical implications of artificial intelligence research or create a blog featuring interviews with particle physicists. Analyze technology used to replace damaged neurological tissue or develop a podcast episode describing the effects of climate change on snowpack in the Alps.

  • Language Practice

Proficiency in French or Swiss German is not required, however, students who study these languages in school will have opportunities to practice while communicating with local people. Students who don’t speak French or Swiss German will have the opportunity to learn some basic language skills.

  • Physical Activity

This is a physically active summer travel program. You do not need to be at peak fitness to participate, but it is important that you have a desire to be physically active, and that you are excited about trying all activities, including rafting, hiking, and city walking.

  • Altitude

This program visits high altitude destinations—the group will spend one day at elevations over 11,000 feet while visiting the Jungfraujoch, and may hike at elevations around 10,000 feet on other occasions.

  • Accommodations

Throughout our time in Switzerland, the group stays in small family-run hotels and inns within walking distance of parks, restaurants, and museums. In Geneva, our home is a small hotel in a quiet neighborhood near Lake Geneva; in Bern, a comfortable old-world hotel on the banks of the Aare River; and in Interlaken, shared dorm rooms in a cozy lodge.

  • Meals

Breakfast is always taken at our hotel. Other meals are eaten at restaurants or picnic-style, depending on the day’s activities.

Explore the Destination

“My program was absolutely amazing.”

— Ellery E., Brookline High School, Brookline, MA

Next Steps

This program is directed by Katie Bourque. If you have questions or would like to talk further about this program, please get in touch!

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