- 18 years of age or above
- Good academic and disciplinary standing at Penn State
- 2.75 cumulative GPA or better at the time of application
- Sophomore standing or above at the start of the program
Florence, Italy is a beautiful example of how successful business can affect the evolution of a city. During the Renaissance period, prosperous merchants, most notably the Medici family, used patronage of the arts as a symbol for their success and power. Their wealth and influence made their city a showcase of Italian art and architecture which continue to attract tourists today. The cultural, historical and business landscape of Florence provides a rich backdrop to this intensive 3 week Maymester program. All students will take one 3-credit class with a Smeal business professor. Classes are enriched with local guest speakers and site visits in the Florence area, and also includes a day trip to Venice. Examples of past site visits include Florence museums, walking tours, local winery, and more. Students have the opportunity to live in local apartments throughout this historic city and experience the magic of Florence today.
All students with an interest in business are welcome to apply. It is recommended that applicants have taken Econ 102 or Econ 104, but this is not required.
Summer: May 9 - May 28, 2021
This program may have limited space, so we recommend that you identify an appropriate backup program and complete the Education Abroad Backup Questionnaire in your Penn State Application when applying to this program. Should you not be accepted for your first-choice program, you will automatically be reviewed for your backup choice. For help on choosing an appropriate backup, please contact your education abroad adviser.
Program Leader Information
- Scott Collins, Associate Clinical Professor of Accounting, Smeal College of Business
- Jeff Sharp, Associate Dean of International Programs, Smeal College of Business
- Contact Vanessa Hausmann in the Smeal Office of International Programs for more information.
Students can choose to enroll in one of two courses offered:
• IB 399 / ACCTG 399: Old World Innovations and their Influence on Modern Business Systems (3 credits)
Students can choose the course number they prefer from above, but course content will be the same.
The course will be based in Florence, Italy and will include a day trip to Venice, Italy. Examples of questions that students will explore during the course include: How did Ancient Egyptians monitor the trade of goods and services in their economy? How did the influence of Mercantilism during the Italian Renaissance lead Venetian merchants to create a unique system of tracking commercial transactions in their economy? What influence did this Venetian business method have on the evolution of business systems after the Italian Renaissance? What is the modern state of business systems, and how were they influenced by Old World innovations? Local visits to historic sites, guest speakers, and relevant readings will bring this survey of the evolution of business systems to life.
• BLAW 499 Common Bonds of Renaissance Italy and the U.S. - Examining Legal and Political Themes Fostering Wealth and Creativity (3 credits)
As the western world emerged from the Middle Ages, an explosion of creativity and wealth occurred in Italy. How and why did this happen? And what can it teach us about the modern global economy? This course will explore the events and forces fostering the rapid ascent of Renaissance Italy as the center of wealth, science, architecture and artistic brilliance. As these ideas and wealth spread throughout the world, some regions succeeded more than others. This course will be a study of the factors, including a careful examination of the legal and political environments associated with creative and business successes from The Renaissance to the present.
With Florence as the classroom, students will engage in discussing selected historical and legal readings (including modern U.S. case law) and on-site examinations of key locations in and around Florence with local professionals. Areas of legal concentration will include the forms of government selected, political forces, general property rights principles and the respect for individual creativity. This course will be taught using the Socratic Method which will require that students read the assigned material in advance of class and be prepared to discuss the material when questioned by the professor. There are no business law prerequisites for this course. All students with an interest in business and law are welcome to apply.
Students are required to take one of the prescribed courses listed above as participants on the program. The Education Abroad Office will register you for this course. To determine how this course will fit into your degree requirements, you will need to work with your academic adviser. Suggested tips:
- Research courses offered on your program
- Meet with your academic adviser to discuss potential courses abroad and your degree requirements.
- Complete your Course Selection Questionnaire in the ‘Post-Decision’ section of your application to choose the course you want from the cross-listed program options.
- Keep in mind that courses abroad may change or may be unavailable for your selected term, so you will need to discuss possible back-up course options
- You must enroll in a minimum number of 3 credits.
- You cannot take any courses abroad on a Pass/Fail basis
- If you are studying abroad in your final semester at Penn State, please note that Penn State may not receive your grades in time for graduation
Generally, housing arrangements include two students per bedroom as the default arrangement. For summer 2021, students will have the option of a single-occupancy bedroom for the duration of the program due to COVID-19 concerns. Students who wish to opt into single occupancy accommodations (single bedroom with private or shared bath) must complete their Supplemental Housing Questionnaire after they have been accepted to the program. Students will be charged an additional fee of $700 per week for single occupancy housing.
You will live in an apartment arranged by the host institution with other program participants. Apartments are scattered around the city (thus avoiding a concentration of American students in one particular area) and are within walking distance of the Institute and furnished with kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms, and communal living space.
You will be responsible for providing your own meals.
Program costs are estimates and subject to change up to the program commitment deadline. If Penn State tuition rates are adjusted for summer 2021, then the education abroad program fee would be scaled accordingly to arrive at the same total billable amount listed on the budget sheet.
For more information on program costs, please be sure to review the budget sheet. These budget sheets include information on costs that are billable to the bursar bill, as well as estimated additional costs. Costs vary by program, so it is important to review this information carefully.
Please note that tuition rates may vary depending on major and class standing.
The Education Abroad Office awards a number of grants and scholarships to students who participate in an education abroad program through Global Programs. The application for the scholarships awarded through the Education Abroad Office is included with your program application. Eligibility is based on academic merit and/or financial need. You must have a current FAFSA on file to be awarded. There are additional scholarship opportunities through our partner universities, Penn State Academic Departments, and other sources. To view a full list of scholarships, eligibility requirements, and deadlines visit Funding Study Abroad.
Penn State students who plan to study on a Penn State approved program can use most forms of financial aid towards the cost of the program. Exceptions include work-study awards and some athletic scholarships. If you have specific questions regarding your aid awards, contact the Penn State Office of Student Aid.
Withdrawal & Refund Policy
Withdrawal and refund details are dependent on the timing and reason for your withdrawal from a Penn State Education Abroad Program. For specific details and steps on how to withdraw, read the Education Abroad Policies.
Once a student has committed to a Penn State Education Abroad program, they are financially responsible for any fees incurred on their behalf. Therefore, if a student plans to withdraw from a program it is their responsibility to immediately notify the Education Abroad office, in writing; email is preferred.
Regardless of the timing or reason for the withdrawal, the student will be responsible for paying the Education Abroad Administrative Fees. For faculty-led freestanding programs, there is a specific withdrawal penalty schedule.
Education Abroad makes every attempt at keeping the program and administrative costs to a minimum. However, when you commit to participating in a program, Education Abroad begins to make financial commitments on your behalf. In case of withdrawal, the following fees will be charged to your Bursar account
Upon Commitment - 90 Days Prior to Departure: 25% Program Fee + EA Admin Fee
30 - 89 Days Prior to Departure: 50% Program Fee + EA Admin Fee
29 Days - Departure Date: 100% Program Fee + EA Admin Fee
Following the start of the summer semester, any adjustment of tuition charges will be made according to the Tuition Adjustment Schedule as determined by the Office of the Bursar. More information can be found on the University Senate Policy on Withdrawal and Leave of Absence.
If a student withdraws after the start of a program, any adjustment of Penn State tuition charges will be made according to the Tuition Adjustment Schedule as determined by the Office of the Bursar. Students may be responsible for up to 100% of program costs. In most cases, partial credit cannot be awarded for leaving a program before its successful completion.
After the Start of the Program
For additional information on withdrawal policies, separate and apart from financial consequences, please consult the University Senate Policy on Withdrawal and Leave of Absence.
Studying abroad can be one of the most exciting and transformative experiences of your college career. It is an opportunity to develop independence, build cross-cultural competencies, grow as a person, and enhance your academic program. Entering a new culture can be challenging for everyone. You may ask yourself: is this the right country for me? What are their cultural norms? How will my identity be perceived there? What can I do to prepare for this experience? What will my daily life be like? Below are resources to help you answer these questions.
Penn State Education Abroad works closely with campus resources and our partner institutions around the world to ensure that students of all abilities reach their goal of studying abroad. While we cannot guarantee the accessibility of all program sites and locations, specific accommodations may be arranged on an individual basis. If you have accommodation needs or further questions please consult with the Student Disability Resources office and your Education Abroad Adviser. Additional resources are available through the Global Programs Website. Disability information will not be used during the admissions process, but rather is meant to provide students with resources to help in planning a successful experience abroad.
Gender and LGBTQA Considerations
There are dramatic and subtle differences in how gender, identity, sexual expression, and sexual health are perceived in different countries. Before going abroad, it is important that you research the specific country or countries you will be visiting and have a full understanding of their cultural norms. Below are some resources to help you with that research and provide guidance for your life abroad.
Race, Ethnicity, and Faith Considerations
When choosing a study abroad location and preparing for your travels, you will want to be mindful of how your experience will be different than what you are used to in the United States. Your racial, ethnic, and spiritual identities may be interacted with and labeled by others differently than what you expect. Here are resources to help you prepare for these differences.
It is possible for non-U.S. Citizens to study abroad through Penn State. To do so successfully, you must plan early because this process may involve obtaining visas and other governmental procedures. Check with your DISSA Adviser prior to committing to a study abroad program and speak with your Education Abroad Adviser for specific information on the host country. If you plan on traveling to other countries during your study abroad experience, you will need to research and make plans to adhere to immigration policies for all of the countries that you plan to travel to and through. You are responsible for applying for visas for all applicable countries on your own. Advisers in the Education Abroad office cannot apply for your visa for you. Additional information may be available through your country's embassy and the consulate for your study abroad country.
Steps to Study Abroad
The planning stages outlined on the Global Programs website will help you have the best study abroad experience possible. We recommend that you begin this process at least one year prior to the semester you plan on studying abroad. Visit the Steps to Study Abroad section of the Global Penn State website.
How to Apply
Click the “Apply Now” button on this page to get started!
Application procedures can vary by program. Students should consult the application instructions available within each application. For more information, see the Application Process section of the Global Penn State website.
You must apply to this program by the Penn State deadline, February 1. For a list of deadlines visit the Application Process page of the Global Programs website.
Contact Education Abroad
If you have general questions about Education Abroad opportunities at Penn State, please email EducationAbroad@psu.edu.
Education Abroad Peer Advisers are Penn State study abroad returnees who advise students on education abroad opportunities at Penn State. Each Peer Adviser can explain program options, give an overview of the study abroad process, as well as provide information about their experience abroad. Peer Advisers have walk-in hours in Boucke Building during the fall and spring semester when classes are in session. For more information, visit the Education Abroad Peer Adviser website.
Education Abroad Advisers
Education Abroad Advisers can provide information about courses, support services, application processes, housing details, program costs, cultural expectations, pre-departure requirements, and much more. Education Abroad Advisers have two types of meetings - scheduled appointments and walk-ins. For more information about how to meet with an Education Abroad Adviser, please visit the Global Penn State website.
For information about upcoming events, scholarship opportunities, deadlines, and much more visit the Global Programs Events Calendar and follow us on social media!