Celtic Roots: Expatriates in Switzerland and Italy
Explore Geneva, Montreux, Thun/Interlaken, Meiringen, Como, Pisa, Florence & Rome!

Celtic Roots Global Appalachia is a global studies experience that allows students and the community to explore their Celtic Roots, either through travel or study abroad in the Interdisciplinary A.B. / B.S. or M.A. degree programs and our partnership with the University of the West of Scotland. The 2025 Celtic Roots course and travel practicum will take travelers to Switzerland and Italy to explore places associated with the 2025 Celtic Roots course: Geneva, Montreux, Interlaken/Thun, Como, Lerici, Pisa, Siena, Florence, and Rome. We will follow the literary footsteps and legends of Lord Byron, Mary and Percy Shelley, John Keats, Elizabeth Barrett, Robert Browning, Connon Doyle, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Henry James, John Ruskin, George Sand, Zelda Fitzgerald, and others, as we explore some of the most inspiring and breathtaking sights in Europe and our Celtic Roots—from the romantic Castle of Chillon to the hills of Tuscany, from the heights of the Schilthorn to the streets of Florence and Rome.



June 9: Nonstop Departure from Dulles to Geneva

June 10: Transportation from the airport to our Geneva hotel, the luxurious Mon Repos, takes us to the heart of historic Geneva, on the lake near the Glass Museum and Museum of the International Red Cross. The revolutionary sanctuary of Voltaire, Geneva is a graceful cosmopolitan city known for its famous lake and international reputation. Explore the shops and cafes before your afternoon cruise on the lake, where the young Romantics Shelley and Byron sailed by day and told ghost stories by night in Byron’s Villa Diodati and where Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein (cruise included). Our Welcome Dinner concludes the day.

June 11 | Geneva: Rise after a full night rest to enjoy your private coach ride to the romantic Castle of Chillon (admission included), setting for Byron’s heroic poem “Prisoner of Chillon,” story of 14th Century revolutionary François Bonivard. After exploring this romantic setting continue to your hotel in Montreux, Fairmont Le Montreux Palace. After check-in, you are free to enjoy lunch, stroll the flower-laden path by the Lake, or enjoy the city. Montreux was a favorite resting place for expatriates Zelda Fitzgerald and Henry James, who wrote many of his stories in this elegant city at the foot of the Alps.

June 12 | Thun: Today we set our sights on the Swiss Alps, our luxury journey a contrast to Mary Godwin’s riding a donkey through these high mountain passes after eloping with her lover Percy Shelley. A lunch stop in Bern, capital of the canton, brings us closer to Thun/Interlocken, our base to explore the Alps—the Lab Hotel in Thun by the Lake our host for two days of breath-taking sights and experiences.

June 13 | Thun: This will be a day whose visual splendor you will never forget: Murren, Reichenbach Falls, picturesque Lauterbrunnen, and mighty Schlithorn from which you view the magnificent Jungfrau and sip hot chocolate in the revolving restaurant at the top of Europe (entrance included).

June 14 | Como: Today we head for Italy via Lake Como, our Hotel Como on the shore of the Italy’s most famous lake.

June 15, Lerici | Pisa: We are on the road to Pisa, via the Bay of Poets and the romantic Italian town of Lerici, where Shelley and Mary spent their last days together and where we shall lunch before wending our way to Pisa and our hotel in the city center, NH Pisa.

June 16 | Florence: This morning we will explore Pisa’s Cathedral, Baptistery, and famed Leaning Tower (entrances included), lunching on our own, after which we will travel the short distance through the hills of Tuscany to Florence, the city of the Medici—making a stop at Piazzale Michaelangelo for a view that will take your breath away. A local guide will meet us at our De Lanzi Hotel after check-in to take us on an afternoon tour to orient us to Florence.

June 17 | Florence: This day belongs completely to you to explore all the sights of Florence that most intrigue you: the Ponti Vecchio, the Pitti Palace, the Duomo with Ghiberti’s bronze doors, the Piazza della Signoria, or perhaps searching for the Brownings’ Case Guidi . . . or you may just sit in the piazza and sip a cup of chocolate. By all means, follow your bliss, in this city of Dante and Lorenzo DeMedici.

June 18 | Siena, Rome: We depart for Rome today, via Siena to lunch and shop in the famous piazza. Our Roman Starhotel Metropole is in the city center, near the Tivoli Fountain.

June 19 | Rome: Our morning begins with half-day tour by a local guide. We will visit Keats’ house by the Spanish Steps, Roman Ruins, Colosseum, Forum, and Palatine (entrances included). The afternoon is yours to explore Rome, perhaps taking a look at the Caravaggio paintings and Bernini sculptures at the Borghese Gallery, St. Peter’s Square, or Giardino Zoologico. Our farewell dinner concludes the day.

June 20 | Rome: For those not opting for the extension, the morning is free to explore Rome before afternoon transport to the airport and back to Dulles. Those opting for the extension can . . . follow your bliss!

June 21-23: (optional) Roman extension to explore the City of Ceasar ($905 per person shared occupancy) with airport transfer and departure on June 23 for Dulles.

Funding Your Program

Scholarship Options: WorldStrides offers a variety of scholarships to help make study abroad possible for all students. There are three scholarship opportunities available: Higher Ed Traveler, Diversity & Inclusion, and the Natalie Shea Memorial Scholarships. You can learn more and apply here.

Financial Assistance: WorldStrides makes more than $2 million in funding available each year to students in financial need seeking educational travel opportunities. To find out if you qualify and apply, click here.