Global Business Institute: Florence - Summer

Welcome to the Global Business Institute (GBI), your opportunity to study and practice business at one of five international campuses. GBI prepares you for the business world through coursework that advances your degree, out-of-the-classroom experiences that create cultural competence that make recruiters want to hire you.
Florence is the ideal setting to spend the summer studying in one of the most historic, cultural and beautiful cities in the world. The city is filled with cobblestone streets, open-air markets, unique food experiences, artistic masterpieces, stunning architecture. The city is an important Italian business hub for human resources, fashion marketing, and tourism management. You will take 2 courses (6 or 7 credits - depending on the courses that you select) on this 6-week long program.  No previous Italian language experience is necessary. 
The city of Florence and hills of Tuscany becomes your classroom during this program. The program includes a full day excursion to Siena and San Gimignano. Students also have the opportunity to interact with the local community and immerse themselves in optional cultural activities through the CAPA My Global Education program. CAPA-led events include a walk up to Piazzale Michelangelo for stunning views over the city of Florence and a hike in the nearby hills, followed by dinner in one of the best pizzerias in town. Other activities, often self-guided, reflect what’s going on in the city at the time and may include a walking tour to the most important markets of Florence, tasting typical Italian snacks, a night at the opera, or attending a soccer match at the Florence Stadium.
Want to learn more? Check out the Pitt Business To the World student blog and this video. 

What You'll Accomplish: 

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

  • Fulfull major elective course(s) and general elective course requirements. 
  • Develop global competency skills through coursework and cultural experiences. 


Florence, Italy is the capital city of the Firenze province and Tuscany region. It is surrounded by the picturesque rolling hills of Tuscany. Florence is a majestic city that is visually stunning, culturally rich and has a storied past. Florence was founded as a Roman Military colony around the 1st Century BC. The city’s population began to grow due to its location in the fertile, farmable hills. Its location also was perfect for economic development in the region.
Florence became a haven for an ever-growing immigrant population that still exists today. Florence has its strong Italian roots but is also very much a multi-cultural city. Due to the growing economy and influx of immigrants it became the perfect location for merchants and artists. This in part, led to the Renaissance period in the 14th to 16th centuries. Many of the most influential artists of that time period flocked to the city to work on their art including Michelangelo, Botticelli, Ghirlandaio and Leonardo da Vinci. They left behind masterpieces in the forms of frescoes, sculptures, paintings and architecture that are still visible throughout the city today. Despite its pivotal role in the history of civilization and its significance as an artistic and cultural center, Florence retains the bustle and charm of a small town in a bygone age. Ancient, medieval, renaissance, cosmopolitan, yet with all modern conveniences, Florence, perhaps more than any other city, is a tapestry displaying Europe's emergence from the Dark Ages through to the 21st century.

Where You'll Live: 

Students will live like a Florentine during their semster abroad. Housing placements are scattered throughout the city-center and location depends on availability and housing option. Exact addresses are provided closer to departure. Regardless of the option you choose, nothing is ever far from you in Florence. The city is a very flat, pedestrian friendly, and walkable city.
You’ll have two options for your housing on Pitt in Florence:

  • Option 1: Shared-Apartments:
    • Like the streets of Florence, no two apartments on the Pitt in Florence program are alike in terms of design, but all will give you a comfortable place to call home in Italy.  Most apartments are located within an hour commute to the CAPA Center, either on foot or by bus. Apartments are still within what is considered the city-center. 
      You can expect the following at your accommodations:
      • Shared bedroom
      • There are typically up to six students in each apartment
      • A fully equipped kitchen
      • En-suite bathroom
      • Shared living area
      • Washing machine(s) in the building (Italian apartments typically do not have dryers).  
      • Meals aren’t included, so plan on learning to cook with local ingredients or budget money to eat out.
  • Option 2 Homestays:
    • Homestays are located in residential neighborhoods on the edge of the city or outskirts, you can expect an hour commute to the CAPA Center from your homestay.  CAPA carefully screens host families before you arrive to make sure that you have a safe and culturally immersive experience. 
      You can expect the following at your homestay accommodations:
      • A private bedroom
      • Access to the home’s kitchen
      • Laundry facilities
      • Living areas
      • Two meals per day
      • You should know that most host families do not speak English.

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 will take two courses on this six-week program.
  • The courses are approved by Pitt and you will receive letter grades for the courses.
  • Please note that the Italian language (ITAL0101) is for 4 credits.
  • The Intercultural Piazza (ITAL 1084) course will be taught by Pitt faculty Jenny McCord. The other courses will be taught by local faculty from CAPA.

Information about how the courses on this program count towards general education requirements for different schools and campuses can be found below:


International Economics (BUSECN1509)
Italian Renaissance Art History (HAA0302)

This course introduces students to painting, sculpture, and architecture in Florence in the Renaissance. Beginning with the great projects of the Middle Ages that defined the religious and political centers of the city, attention focuses on major monuments of the Renaissance. Discussion will center on how works of art were made, their style, and how they communicate intellectual meaning. Sub-themes that intersect with the most recent research in the field of art history are interwoven into each class period. Topics for discussion include the cross-cultural fertilization of artistic ideas, how women, the poor, and children were depicted in Renaissance art, conflicting ideas regarding patronage, and how works of art construct religious, political, gender, and class identities. This course analyzes the interrelationship between people's creative achievements and their society. In other words, students must understand a work of art in the social, artistic, and historical context of medieval and renaissance Florence.


Intercultural Piazza (ITAL1084)

taly has long been a nation of emigrants, but only in the last few decades has become a nation receiving large numbers of immigrants. The fall of communism in Eastern Europe, and wars and violence in the Balkans, across Africa and the Middle East, have spurred new migrants towards the West in search of safety and economic prosperity. The unique position of the Italian peninsula in the Mediterranean has made it a key territory of arrival in these modern-day migrations, but to what advantage and to what cost? This course will explore the complexities of cultural identity and migration, and the impact they have on intercultural conflict and cooperation. There will be a particular focus on migration in Italy and on the marginalized communities of contemporary Italy, such as migrants, their Italianborn non-citizen children, and the Roma. We will examine the fluidity of cultural boundaries across time and space, and how ingroup and outgroup dynamics contribute to the manufacturing of fear and prejudice among populations. During their semester abroad, students will reflect on the various elements that define a culture while gaining an increased understanding of how culture shapes individuals and how our cultural identities interact in shared social spaces such as the piazze of Florence. 

Italian: Here and Now (4 credits) (ITAL0101)

An introduction to the Italian language, including basic grammar, vocabulary and speech patterns. Primary goal is to achieve competence in the spoken language, along with basic skills in reading and writing. Face-to-face lesson meetings consist of communicative activities in which students practiced learned structures and vocabulary.  Students will watch/listen/read lectures, complete exercises related to grammar and vocabulary. This instructional approach is designed to allow for maximum interaction in the classroom environment, so that students can receive extensive feedback on their progress. 

Cross Cultural Psychology in Florence (PSY0186)

This course will explore the field of cross-cultural psychology through a focus on a specific country and its inhabitants: Italy. Aspects of cross-cultural analysis from the field of cross-cultural psychology (as well as interdisciplinary elements from sociology, anthropology, biology and ecology) will be discussed, including: cultural influence on human behavior, attitudes, values, communication and societal organization. Special topics of ethnocentrism, individual vs. collective societies, plural societies, cultural views on mental health, and intercultural communication are highlighted. Methodological issues of cross-cultural research will be reviewed, and students will have the opportunity to conduct a cross-cultural interview and be participant-observers of their own experience here in Italy. The city of Florence and its inhabitants become the classroom through various excursions and field work. Participants are encouraged to reflect on their own cultural origins in regards to behaviors, communication, attitudes and values, as well as their acculturation experiences while studying in Italy.



The University of Pittsburgh partners with the CAPA the Global Education Network for this program. For more than 45 years CAPA: The Global Education Network has worked with institutions of higher education to build programs that meet their goals for learning abroad. CAPA operates education centers in Global Cities and have developed distinct academic offerings, support frameworks, and oversight structures for students and visiting faculty.
The CAPA Florence Center is housed in Palazzo Galli-Tassi, a 15th century palace in the Santa Croce neighborhood. The CAPA Florence team is available throughout your program to assist and support you 24/7 with any urgent situations.
The University of Pittsburgh partners with the CAPA Global Education Network for this program. For more than 45 years CAPA: The Global Education Network has worked with institutions of higher education to build programs that meet their goals for learning abroad. CAPA operates education centers in Global Cities and have developed distinct academic offerings, support frameworks, and oversight structures for students and visiting faculty.
The CAPA Florence Center is housed in Palazzo Galli-Tassi, a 15th century palace in the Santa Croce neighborhood. The CAPA Florence team is available throughout your program to assist and support you 24/7 with any urgent situations.

Your Pitt Study Abroad Contacts: 

Steph Spirk

Hola, hallo, hi!  I'm Steph Spirk, and I am an International Programs Manager for Pitt Business.  I am a yinzer, very proud to call Pittsburgh my home, yet my love for cultural exchange has always led me to new places, even ones I never thought I'd go to before.  I was a Pitt student myself, becoming an expert on study abroad by participating in three programs: Global Service Learning in Bolivia, the International Internship Program in Madrid, and an exchange program at Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona.  I speak fluent Spanish and German at an advanced level.  In my free time you'll find me practicing yoga in the square, hiking through the many parks, painting, and capturing the beauty of Pittsburgh and beyond through the lens of my camera.
Looking forward to chatting with yinz!

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Your In-Country Contacts: 

Jenny McCord

Jenny McCord teaches the Italian 0101 and Italian for the Professions Course on this program. She is also your in-country program advisor. Jenny earned a Master of Arts in Italian literature and a Master of Teaching in foreign language education at the University of Virginia. She has been teaching Italian classes at the University of Pittsburgh since 2006 and has worked for study abroad programs in Bologna, Florence and Rome. Jenny has recently completed a Master in intercultural studies and social mediation at the University of Padova, and is interested in promoting intercultural competencies in an effort to expand social bonding and facilitate integration of vulnerable parties in our communities.



Items Billed by Pitt

  In-State Out-of-State
Tuition $7,399 $7,599
Study Abroad Fee $300 $300
Total Billed by Pitt $7,699 $7,899

Estimated Additional Out-of-Pocket Costs

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


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 GBI: Florence fee, the following are included:

  • Tuition for 6 credits (or 7 credits if you take the Italian language course)
  • On-Site Orientation
  • Shared accommodations throughout the program 
  • Health Insurance
  • Transit pass for buses
  • Airport transfers
  • My Global City activities and events
When You'll Go: 

The program start date is May 20 and the end date is July 2, 2022.

What Else You Need to Know: 

Please note that while application for this program is now open, PittGEO will continue to evaluate COVID-19 conditions in each country, as well as CDC and U.S. Department of State Travel Warnings.
For scholarship opportunities, be sure to check out the Funding Sources page.  

Pitt Business students may also apply for additional scholarships through the Pitt Business International Scholarships here, as well as crowdfund using the Pitt Business Fund My Travel page. Please note that the application deadline for the Pitt Business International Scholarship is the same as the program application deadline.