Course Details

Program dates


Travel dates


Course credits

UEPP 437

Total credits: 6


Sophomore, Junior, or Senior Standing, Open to all WWU majors

Photo of Nicholas Zaferatos

Nicholas Zaferatos

Professor of Urban Planning and Sustainable Development, College of the Environment
Environmental Studies 444

The program focuses on applied sustainability studies of Mediterranean urban and island communities in Greece. We begin with explorations of public spaces in Athens as well as the historic and contemporary cultural elements of the city. We then shift focus to the study of traditional medieval villages of Aegean and Ionian Island communities. The course emphasizes studies in sustainable development and includes field investigations, studies of village form, and current issues facing Greece. In our residency stay in Ithaca, students will contribute to an ongoing sustainable development plan for our case study village as part of our continuing research in Ithaca. The planning study has won best student planning study by the American Planning Association and the Planning Association of Washington.



Greece water surrounded by green trees

Program Highlights

Explore Mediterranean architecture, urban planning, traditional village development, historic sites and contemporary Greek culture while performing fieldwork in village settings. The program emphasizes sketching, photography, and other observational tools to decode the nature of Greek urban spaces.

The program involves three parts:

  1. explorations of Athens, examining the city’s historic preservation and development, the pedestrianization of the central city, and visits to historical sites and museums;
  2. island hopping to study traditional hilltop settlement villages in the Aegean’s Cycladic Islands; and
  3. a planning study for our case study village of Kioni on the Ionian Island of Ithaca.

Expectations of Participants

Activities include visits to museums, cultural sites, swimming, and hiking to and around medieval hilltop villages, which do not provide for reasonable accommodations. With or without reasonable accommodations, students must be able to: sit and/or walk for eight hours/day, walk for hours at a time in warm weather, climb stairs, and stand for prolonged periods.

Periodic refrigeration provided in many, but not all of our accommodations. Durations of traveling with no refrigeration available.

Students must work with the WWU Disability Access Center, Wilson Library 170, (360) 650-3083, For service eligibility, a complete diagnostic description from a qualified professional is required. Specific accommodations or services are determined on an individual basis and are modified to meet the unique needs of the student and their academic experience. Accommodation policies and procedures are highly individualized and centered on self-advocacy, realistic self-appraisal, and student growth. Each quarter, students need to activate their approved accommodations for each class. Students choose which of their approved accommodations they want to activate for each class.

We strongly recommend that all students traveling on this Global Learning Program are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to maximize the safety of the student cohort. Participants must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to departure, or provide a proof of an official COVID-19 vaccination waiver granted by WWU.

Participants are expected to abide by all attendance policies of the program, including those for classes and excursions, and to adhere to the program schedule. Since the programs are academic in nature, parents, friends, partners, and families are not permitted on any part of the Global Learning Program. Personal travel must be outside of the course dates and not conflict with coursework or excursion schedules. Travel plans should be vetted by faculty beforehand to ensure personal plans do not interfere with meeting the learning objectives of the course.


group of students on a rock in Greece with water in background