English and Geography Field School to Trieste, Italy

Program Overview

Field School Dates: May 16 - June 1, 2019 (tentative)


Trieste, with its historical links to Italian, Germanic, and Slavic cultures, and located between the Adriatic Sea and Karst mountains, provides an excellent case study of a cultural contact zone. As author Jan Morris notes, “in this city, the lines between fact and fiction, past and present, the explicit and the enigmatic, let alone between one ethnicity and another, always seem to be uncertain.”

We will explore the uncertain space of Trieste by studying the city’s literature, history, geography, art, and architecture. We will try to answer the following questions: What happens when borders shift, populations migrate, and cultures collide? Are cultural values maintained, recreated, or at risk? Are there opportunities for collaboration and cooperation? How does geography shape culture, and vice versa?

Deadline to Apply: Friday, November 28, 2018


Courses and Credits

Participants in this program may be able to receive the following course credits depending on their discipline:

  • ENGL 222 or 327 (3 credits), Terri Doughty
  • GEOG 465 (3 credits), Michele Patterson

Students may choose to do a directed studies course with either instructor for an additional 3 credits

Prerequisites may apply.

Applicable tuition fees apply based on course registration. Course registration occurs prior to Intersession. Tuition deadlines will be outlined in your student record.

Application and Eligibility


  • Students must have minimum second-year standing and permission of the instructors
  • Students must be in good academic standing as determined by VIU


  • All applicants are asked to supply a statement of interest and contact information for two academic references to either: Terri Doughty (Terri.Doughty@viu.ca), English department or Michele Patterson (Michele.Patterson@viu.ca), Geography department. 

Interested participants who are not current VIU students, contact the Education Abroad office by email at EducationAbroad@viu.ca to discuss enrollment opportunities.

Accepted applications will be required to make a non-refundable $500 Field School fee deposit to confirm a seat in the program. Once paid, Field School fees are non-refundable. 

Once accepted to the field school

  • All accepted applicants will receive an email requesting the non-refundable deposit of $500 to be paid through your Student Record with subsequent payment deadline dates.

  • Before your departure you will be asked by Education Abroad to complete the International Travel Registry and Pre-Departure checklist (including submission of a copy of your passport, flight itinerary, etc). Additionally, all participants must attend pre-departure training sessions. Completion of pre-departure activities must be completed in full before approval for departure.


Local Context

Field school activities require a significant amount of walking and some individual exploration by students to complete assignments.

The terrain in Trieste and surrounding areas is hilly, and there are mostly cobbled streets, along with narrow lanes and sidewalks. Also, hotel rooms in Italy generally have very small bathrooms. Finally, accessibility is not implemented at all public sites.

Some parts of the city and sites may have limited accessibility. However, there is good public transit with buses and public transit alternatives may be available. There is a lot of pedestrian traffic, and a lot of scooters that don’t always obey the rules of the road.

The climate in Trieste in May is usually moderate, but as with warming trends throughout Europe in past years, temperatures can get into the mid to high twenties. Our hotel will be air-conditioned, but not all sites may be. Participants may need to rest in shady areas if out on hot days. There can be some rain, which does make cobbles slippery; extra care will need to be taken when walking on a rainy day.

There are a variety of foodstuffs available in grocery stores and markets, as well as prepared food sold in a variety of establishments at different price points. Food traditions in Trieste derive from a variety of cultures; it has a strong history as a noted cosmopolitan port city. Many dietary plans can be easily accommodated.

Costs and Funding

Field School Fees and Costs: $2200 (subject to change)

Field School Fees

Included in fees:

  • Shared accommodation
  • Breakfasts
  • Program related travel in Italy
  • Program related entry in Italy
  • One group meal

Not included:

  • Medical Insurance (Guard.me)
  • Airport transfers
  • International airfare
  • Most lunches/dinners
  • Passport/visa expenses
  • Vaccinations, if required
  • Personal expenses
  • Changes to travel itinerary
  • Tuition



Non-refundable deposit


 December 7, 2018

Payment 1


 February 1, 2019

Payment 2/Final Payment


 March 1, 2019

Total cost per participant

To be confirmed
Estimated amount: $2200
Subject to change

All payments must be made via the student record. Credit cards are not accepted.

Fees may be subject to change.

Passports and Visas


All participants must have a valid passport good for six months after your return. Apply for a Canadian passport or pick up an application at any Canada Post office.


Italy is part of the Schengen Region and you may require a Schengen Visa depending upon which country you hold a passport. Please visit Schengen Visa Info. Contact Education Abroad for a Letter of Enrollment for this program to support your visa application (accepted students only).

International students going abroad must make sure their TRV and Study Permits are up-to-date and won't expire while they are abroad.

Students will be responsible for applying for and securing their own visas (where appropriate).

Contact Us

Terri Doughty

Professor, Faculty of English
250.740.3245 Ext. 2102

Michele Patterson

Professor, Faculty of Geography
250.740.3245 Ext. 6296

Education Abroad

Building 255, Second Floor
Phone: 250.753.3245 Ext. 2494
Email: EducationAbroad@viu.ca
Web: VIU Education Abroad