University Honors

Presidential Global Scholars

PGS 2017: Being Local in a Global World

January 13, 2017 - May 3, 2017

Click the button above to apply for PGS 2017. If you have any specific questions regarding PGS, please contact Patrick Tunno.


The Presidential Global Scholars program is sponsored by University Honors, the Office of the University President, and Outreach and International Affairs. It exists to provide Virginia Tech Honors students with the opportunity to discover their niches in an interconnected society and to empower them to contribute positively to our transforming world.

PGS is designed as a collaborative living-learning community in which ambitious Honors students and award-winning professors work in tandem with the resources and opportunities in Europe and beyond to create an environment that allows the students to better understand the world and what they might accomplish in it.

Castle in Belizona

Our theme for 2017 is Being Local in a Global World - While we live in an interdependent world, some people report negative consequences to globalization and have focused their attention on enhancing and sustaining local resources. Movements related to slow food and slow cities, sustainability, and preserving cultural diversity have become widespread in Europe. Students will explore issues of globalization and how local efforts may or may not be making a difference in the world.

Spring 2017 poster coming soon!

Join us and…

Learn how to be a global citizen

Modules are hands-on learning experiences taught by some of Virginia Tech’s best award-winning, distinguished professors. Students conduct independent research on global issues throughout Europe.

Photo by Craig Wainner


Topics covered during the semester include Italian Language and Cultures; Global Affairs; Science and the Global World; and Discourse and Global Society.

Experience different cultures

Presidential Global Scholars is not your everyday campus course.  It is an immersive cultural experience.

Live the European experience!

Live in the elegant Villa Maderni and marvel at the breathtaking beauty of the Swiss Alps, all while discovering the influence of volcanoes in southern Italy, enjoying a boat tour in Lugano, exploring the arts in Florence, or savoring French, Italian, or German foods in the local regions.

Earn course credit

This is an academic program worth 18 credits (16 Honors credits), with credit in CLE/General Education areas.

Because we are living in a small town in the Italian speaking part of Switzerland, students are asked to take at least one semester of Italian studies before spring 2017. This will be offered by the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at Virginia Tech. The 3 credit Italian course you will take while at the Steger Center will begin at a second semester, at least.

Program Information


Our program is privileged to have affiliations with many award-winning faculty from across the university. The 2017 faculty have not been selected yet; they will be similar to professors from past semesters:


Professors who have participated in the past include:

Benefits of Study Abroad

Honors students from all majors will benefit from this program.  During this experience, students will be challenged to listen, speak, and write, with great vigor and intensity, so that they return to Virginia Tech with a renewed and enlarged sense of what they want to do with their lives.

Studying abroad allows students to:

  • Invest in their future
  • Gain global and cross-cultural competencies
  • Cultivate personal, professional, and intellectual development
  • Enhance awareness of self and one's own culture
  • Develop self-reliance and problem-solving skills
  • Become more confident
  • Improve language and cross-cultural interpersonal skills


Swiss Map

All majors welcome!

Students from all majors will benefit from the program.  Presidential Global Scholars will better prepare students for their academic and professional careers by enhancing their ability to relate to other cultures and customs, as well as give students a frame of reference of Europe and the global world.  There are no prerequisites for this program.

Program Costs / Funding

We do not want any student to pass up this exciting study abroad opportunity because of financial reasons. Several scholarships and forms of financial aid may be available to help defer some of the program costs.

  • Student will need additional spending money.
  • University Honors Presidential Global Scholars grants and Pamplin Leaders scholarships will be available upon application. The 2017 scholarship and interview process will be part of the general PGS application process.
  • An allocation of student financial aid is set aside for Steger Center programs.  Check with the Global Education Office and the University Scholarships and Financial Aid Office for more information.
  • Global Education also has information regarding internal VT scholarships.
  • Be sure to check out external scholarships and funding also, such as the Gilman Scholarship Program.


Other Information

Relevant News / Articles

Developing Global Insights Through Local Experiences In The Presidential Global Scholars Program

Program allows for immersive European experience for University Honors students - VT News (July 2015)

Presidential Global Scholars reflect on the impact of education abroad learning experience - VT News (July 2013)

Photos: 2013 Presidential Global Scholars - VT News (July 2013)

Presidential Global Scholars reflect on first half of education abroad learning experience - VT News (April 2013)

Presidential Global Scholars 2012 - Outreach and Iinternational Affairs (Spring 2012)

University Honors students prepare for the trip of a lifetime - VT News (Dec. 2012)

Univ. Honors Students Encourage Others to Apply for next PGS - VT News (July 2012)

Students to Embark on New Study Abroad Trip - Collegiate Times (Sept. 2011)

Articles Featuring PGS Alumni

Study Abroad provides new perspective for undergraduate student Anusha Rizvi - VT News (Dec. 2013)

Three University Honors students launch a browser extension that allows online consumers to fight forced labor with education purchases - VT News (Nov. 2013)

Students' Anti-Trafficking Effort Wins National Contest - Virginia Tech Spotlight (Nov. 2013)

Virginia Tech sends first Presidential Fellow to Washington - Innovations (July 2013)

Students will use summer break to work on winning technological concepts that help deter human trafficking worldwide - VT News (May 2013)

Wildlife Science Student Interviews Former Sambian Poachers - Virginia Tech Spotlight (May 2013)

Undergraduate student represents university as its first Presidential Fellow - VT News (April 2013)

Relevant Websites

Office of the Virginia Tech President

VT Office of International Research, Education and Development

Virginia Tech Education Abroad

Center for European Studies and Architecture

Center for Innovation and Learning

Photo by Kim Carlson


2017 Applications

Priority Deadline: December 18th, 2015

Rolling admissions until March 14th, 2016



Passport Apps Due:

As soon as you find out that you are accepted into the program, you will need to apply for a passport, if you do not already have one.

Visa Apps Due:

TBD for Fall 2016

Pre-Course Meetings:

  • All participants will enroll in a 1-credit pre-travel colloquia in Fall 2016. Exact dates TBD.