Comparative Economics of Central Europe: Prague and Krakow


Study in the heart of Central Europe and get a feel for its past and development during this 3-week program. You will earn 3-credits while you study in Prague and Krakow. These cities are the ideal place to study post World War II economic and political redevelopment. This program is ideal for any student interested in history, politics, sociology, economics, and culture of post-war Czech Republic and Poland. Topics will include the history of the European Union, political and economic developments in Eastern Europe, analyses of the main industries in each country, international trade, banking, education, health care, and tourism. 

This program consists of guest lectures by academic, political and economic leaders in Prague and Krakow; field trips to sites of interest; and daily lectures by Dr. Svitlana Maksymenko from Pitt's Department of Economics. These cities will become your classroom during this program. The program itinerary is packed with activities and site visits. Some of the activities that have previously been included on this program include a tour of the Old City and a Jewish tour in Prague, museum visits, a day excursion to Kutna Hora and Cesky Krumlov, walking tours; Jewish tour in Krakow, and day excursions to Auschwitz and Nova Huta. At the conclusion of this program, you will be able to analyze current political and economic issues in Czech Republic and Poland, and critically evaluate policy options.


What You'll Accomplish: 

As an engaged and active participant in this program, you will have the opportunity to develop:

  • An understanding of changes in Central and Eastern Europe since WWII from a historical perspective
  • Basis to compare the current socio-economic and political situation in the Czech Republic and Poland
  • Understanding of the service, healthcare, education and tourism sectors operate 

Intercultural Learning Objectives:

  • Develop cultural self-awareness and knowledge of cultural worldview frameworks (Knowledge);
  • Develop an understanding of cultural differences in verbal and nonverbal communication styles and learn to successfully adapt in various presented cultural contexts (Skills);
  • Develop the ability to engage and learn from perspectives and experiences different from one’s own (Skills);
  • Learn to exercise curiosity and openness in interactions with other cultures (Attitudes);
  • Develop transferrable and personal leadership skills (Skills, Attitudes). 

Learning objectives are based on the AAC&U VALUE rubrics for Global Learning and Intercultural Knowledge and Competence

Prague:  The "Golden City" of Prague has beautiful architecture, vibrant culture, and a deep history. The ancient city of Krakow, untouched by WWII, will welcome you with its cobblestone streets, Gothic cathedrals, museums, and cozy restaurants. Located at the heart of Europe, Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic with an area of 496 km2 and is home to 1,200,000 people. The year 1870, when Prague castle was established, is regarded as the beginning of the city's existence.  In 1918, at the end of World War I, Prague was declared the capital of a new country of the Czechoslovak Republic. In 1993 it became the capital of an independent Czech Republic.

Krakow: Krakow, one of the oldest cities in Poland, has traditionally been a leading center of Polish academic, cultural, and artistic life. Named the official European Capital of Culture for the year 2000 by the European Union, Krakow has 28 museums and a number of art galleries, several performing arts theatres, and a rich musical heritage. Visitors may wish to take a trip to Wawel Castle, the historical site of Auschwitz, the Wieliczka Salt Mine, or simply browse the many shops and enjoy the plentiful dining options surrounding the main square.

While in each city you will stay in the city center and be able to walk to many of the most popular areas. This will be the perfect location for you to be able to compare and contrast each city and their economies. Temperatures and precipitation vary based on the season. In May, the temperatures average 50-65 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Temperatures cool off at night and there’s also always potential for rain. It is a good idea to pack a light, waterproof/resistant jacket. 


Where You'll Live: 

In Prague and Krakow, you will stay in double-occupancy hotel accommodations. Amenities may vary and may not be equal. Final hotel accommodations in these cities will be finalized later in the semester and addresses will be provided to students at orientation. You can expect the following with your accommodations:

  • Double-occupancy hotel rooms
  • En-Suite bathroom
  • Small workspace
  • Hotel reception area
  • Access to coffee/tea making area  
  • breakfast included daily
  • Wi-Fi
  • Central location and walkable to city center

We do our best to provide the most accurate information about housing and amenities but due to the nature of the locations in which we offer programs and limited availability, these items are subject to change.  Contact your program manager with any questions. 

What You'll Study: 

You'll earn a total of 3 credits on the Comparative Economics of Central Europe program. Everyone who participates on the program will take the same course. The Economics course is taught by Pitt professor Svitlana Maksymenko. The course will be taught in English and it will be comprised of lectures, guest speakers, city tours, cultural activities and company visits. In this course you will study:

  • History, economics, and policies of three Central European countries
  • Current political and economic issues in the Czech Republic and Poland
  • Policy options and critically evaluate them

If you are seeking to count these courses towards a major, minor or certificate, please meet with your advisor to discuss this program and what the courses will fulfill for you. 

Comparative Economics of Central Europe (ECON0905)

The course is designed for students who are interested in the contemporary economic and political issues of the Central and Eastern European countries. This course introduces undergraduate students to the history, economy, and policy of the Central European economies. Upon completion of this course students will be able to:

  • Analyze political and economic developments in Central and Eastern Europe from the historical perspective since the WWII
  • Compare current socio-economic and political situation in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland
  • Understand the key industries in each country
  • Evaluate the impact of the European Union on these economies
  • Learn about labor markets in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland
  • Compare international trade and international monetary regimes in these countries
  • Analyze banking, debt, investments and risk in these countries
  • Understand how service sector, health care, education, and tourism operate in each country
  • Explain the impact of financial crises on Central European economies

At the end of the course, students should be able to analyze current political and economic issues in Czech Republic and Poland, and critically evaluate policy options. 

The University of Pittsburgh partners with CET Academic Programs on this program. CET Academic Programs is a study abroad organization that has been developing and delivering innovative educational programs abroad since 1982. The CET Prague Center in the heart of Prague. It’s easily accessible by public transportation, and the surrounding neighborhood is filled with countless restaurants, cafés, museums, and stores. You’re welcome to study or hang out with classmates, hop on the wifi, or even just chat with staff. You will have some classes here, but a majority of time you will be experiencing the city as your classroom. CET does not have academic centers in Krakow, but will send a staff member along with your faculty member to help support the program. The CET team is available throughout your program to assist and support you 24/7 with any urgent situations.

Your Pitt Study Abroad Contacts: 

Oksana Stalczynski

Privet! I'm Oksana Stalczynski and I'm an Assistant Director of Study Abroad at the Global Experiences Office. I was born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia, was an exchange student and Russian Language Scholar at Reed College in Portland, OR and did a summer language program in Dresden, Germany. Global experiences broaden your horizon, grow your circle of friends and improve your career opportunities. That’s why I think everyone should do one!

Feel free to contact me to find out more about global experiences programs at Pitt, and/or to learn/practice some Russian.


Schedule an appointment

  • Click here to schedule an appointment with me through Pathways.
  • Log into Pathways with your Pitt username and password.
  • Select Find Available Time.
  • Select the time that works for you.
  • Click the schedule button
  • You will see a confirms message on the screen. You will also receive a confirmation in your Pitt email.

Don't see a time that works for you? Just send me an email.

Your In-Country Contacts: 

Dr. Svitlana Maksymenko

Dr. Svitlana Maksymenko is a senior lecturer in the Department of Economics at the University of Pittsburgh and an affiliated faculty member of the Center for Russian and East European Studies. Her research interests include comparative economics, economic growth and reforms, and economics of development. She regularly teaches International Economics, Financial Economics and Economic Policy Analysis at Pitt.

Items Billed by Pitt

  In-State Out-of-State
Program Cost $5,099 $5,299
Study Abroad Fee $300 $300
Total Billed by Pitt $5,399 $5,599

Estimated Additional Out-of-Pocket Costs

Airfare ~$1,500
Meals and Personal Expenses ~$1,000 


Remember that your lifestyle and spending choices can greatly affect the amount of money you'll need while abroad. Visit our Budgeting page for more information.


What's Included: 

As a part of your program fee, the following are included:

  • Tuition for three credits
  • Shared housing for the duration of the program
  • International travel health insurance
  • Two group dinners
  • Prague Inclusions
    • Orientation and Prague city tour
    • Visit to the Museum of Communism
    • Site visit to a Czech company/meeting with a Czech business professional
    • All-day excursion to Kutna Hora
    • Day excursion to Brysk spark plug factory in the town of Tabor
    • Overnight excursion to Český Krumlov (includes 1 night in hotel, tour of castle, and guest lecture by former mayor of the town)
  • Poland
    • Krakow city tour
    • Walking tour of Kazimierz Jewish Quarter
    • Visit to the Museum of Krakow Under the Occupation (Schindler’s Factory)
    • Day excursion to Auschwitz-Birkenau (including a guided study tour)
    • Tour of Nowa Huta neighborhood (including a guided tour)
    • Visit to Heineken Corporate Headquarters or other company
    • Farewell dinner
  • Train transportation between Prague and Krakow
  • Local transportation passes
What Else You Need to Know: 
  • This program has a very structured schedule. Your free time may be limited to evenings. Most weekends have scheduled excursions and activities (They're to places you would plan to see on your own, and some you may not discover during your own research). If you're planning to do independent travel, please do so after the program has concluded.
    • Due to the nature of the program, the schedule is subject to change. There may be instances where a guest speaker or visit needs to be rescheduled. We ask for your patience and understanding in advance.
  • Remember that this is an academic program and that you should expect to invest the same amount of time and effort on your courses abroad as you would on a course at Pitt.
  • While a background in economics is helpful, it is not required for this program.
  • Course is taught in English