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International Virtual Course

"If we are to stay below the targets set in the 2015 Paris agreement – and thereby minimise the risks of setting off irreversible chain reactions beyond human control – we need immediate, drastic, annual emission reductions unlike anything the world has ever seen."


You agree with this statement by Greta Thunberg, but feel helpless in the face of the complexity of international climate negotiations? You feel the need to offer innovative solution strategies but don’t know where to start? Would you like to exchange ideas with international colleagues who are facing the same dilemma?

Then join our International Virtual Course!

Tackling climate change requires international cooperation at eye level and innovative solution strategies. You will learn about the impacts and challenges of climate change with a focus on agro-food systems in different geographical settings and develop possible solutions in international teams. With this course you literally bring the world into your living room! In addition to preparing from a local perspective, you will closely work with our partners from the Universidade Federal da Grande Dourados in Brazil, the University of Agricultural Sciences Bangalore in India and the University of Nairobi in Kenya to develop innovative ideas. The virtual classroom and teamwork are interspersed with national field trips.


The International Virtual Course starts with an online kick-off, where you will get to know your colleagues from Kenya, India and Brazil (ca. 2h in May). The intensive phase of the course takes place from 1st - 19th of July 2024.

Then, the International Virtual Course is split into four phases:

  • During the first phase (June, international kick off meeting: 3rd of June 2024) – together with your ZHAW colleagues -  you will create a short video about the impacts of climate change in Switzerland, in order for your international colleagues to get a first idea.This consists of a half day (Saturday) of videoing instructions and additional time for your group to create the video (flexible). Additionally you will complete a selected part of an FAO e-learning course.
  • The second phase (1st - 12th of July 2024) is called the study phase. It consist of daily virtual classroom sessions (14.00 - 16.00 GMT+1) and two field excursions (full-day on Wednesdays - 3rd & 10th of July). You will learn from experts about international cooperation, follow panel discussions during which international professionals discuss about how to tackle climate change, participate in a simulated climate change negotiation and exchange with your colleagues about the most pressing challenges in their respective countries. During the field trips you will get practical impressions of the challenges e.g. Swiss farmers are facing and the mitigation and adaptation measures being implemented.
  • The third phase (15th - 19th of July 2024) consists of an international virtual teamwork in small Climate Action Groups (one member from each country). This group work starts with the first phase of the course and intensified through regular coachings in the second phase. The last week is used to finalize the project and present it at the end of the week.
  • In the fourth phase (22nd - 31st July 2024) you give us feedback through an online questionnaire and reflect on your learnings – and that’s it! 



  • Your active participation is expected at all virtual meetings, and physically at the video course (half-day) and the two full-day excursions. The virtual meetings in phase two will be during the early afternoon for Swiss participants.
  • The course is in English (except for excursions and video course) with lots of different accents. So don’t worry about your level of English – and be patient with others!
  • ZHAW students will receive 4 ECTS after successful completion of the course (creditable for BSc in Environmental Engineering & MSc in Environment and Natural Resources as module «Summer School»).


«During the International Virtual Course I was able to learn more about the current challenges of other countries, discuss possible solution strategies and to make new friends. Not only was I able to deepen my intercultural skills, but I also learned how to master virtual cooperation with people across three continents. In my eyes, this is an important skill because climate change is a global issue affecting all people and countries. Today, I feel empowered because the course made me realise that there are people all over the world who share my ideas and goals for a better future.»

Nathalie Pfister, Bsc UI, BLH