International Business in a Time of Disruption: Protectionism, Pandemics, and Political Fragmentation

Due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, Tippie global programs will be run in a remote, virtual format. Programs will not involve international travel in summer 2021. They will be entirely virtual and are approved to count for Tippie RISE.

Course Information

In Viaggio: A virtual trip to Italy to examine the business, social, and political response to the pandemic

How is international business handled at a time of mass disruption? Join us on a virtual exploration of the business and culture of Italy though a remote “trip” that you can do from home. Given protectionism, pandemics, and risks of political fragmentation, COVID-19 has created an unprecedented time in Italy, Europe, and the world. Check out our video highlights from this course over winter 2020. 

This online adventure will be led by Bruce Kline, a former finance executive at HP who has taught international courses around the world and currently resides in Italy.

Course credit satisfies Tippie RISE and also counts in the following ways:

  • Pick one: FIN:4020 Special Topics in Finance (finance elective for majors) or International Global Issues gen ed for Tippie students
  • Pick one: For the International Business Certificate: International Business Section or Study Abroad Section
Venice tour

Course topics

The timeline of the course will follow a virtual trip to Italy.  As the first virtual stop we will "land" in Frankfurt, home of the most important European continental airport as well as the European Central Bank (ECB), to discuss the layout of European economics.  A “stopover” in Rome introduces Italian culture and history with a national overview. We move on to the northeastern Italian region of Veneto where we virtually tour local attractions, experience the culture, and talk to companies involved. As a class, we will look at how COVID has impacted all levels, from the EU to businesses to individuals. Ultimately, we settle in with discussions about individual lives and responses.

  • History of the European Union and Eurozone and their functions
  • Controversy of coordinated pandemic response
  • A history of the Roman republic to present-day Italy
  • Italian political and economic response
  • Unemployment
  • Healthcare
  • Regional economics
  • Impact on tourism
  • How local companies have been impacted
Intl Biz in Italy Risotto

Cultural activities 

Participants will each receive a cultural "travel" box that has supplies for our hands-on activities. Cultural seminars will be live on Zoom and interactive. This is an interactive and personal course experience, participants should come ready to discuss and learn from each other.  Seminars will include:

  • Survival Italian
  • A night at the theater
  • Hands on cooking class from home
  • Exploration of regional cuisine
  • Tour of local towns
  • Hands on art activity from home
  • Cultural conversations with Italian business students
  • Alumni presentations 
  • Company presentations 

Important Dates and Application


  • Applications are now closed. Future virtual opportunities will be announced in the fall semester.

Virtual Class Dates:

  • May 17 - June 3
  • Most class activities will take place Monday - Thursday between the hours of 8am-4pm
  • Class will be in block format with 3-4 blocks per day, and breaks in between
  • Class format will be live Zoom meetings
Verona, Italy


Applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • GPA: 2.75 UI and cumulative
  • Academic Prerequisites: FIN:3000 or approval of program director
  • Good academic and disciplinary standing

If you have questions regarding eligibility requirements, contact the program director prior to submitting an application.

View of Italy

Program fee and Scholarships

The program fee is expected to be $1,655. This includes 3 s.h. of course credit and is comparable to tuition for all 3 s.h. courses offered through the University of Iowa. Program fee includes cultural activity supplies that will be mailed to each participant. There is a $50 application fee for this program. 

There are scholarships available for virtual global programs through both the Tippie College and Study Abroad. 

Apply for Tippie Scholarships

What are Tippie students saying?

"Super valuable! I feel more worldly without having travelled anywhere!"

"With this program being virtual, I was worried I would not get the cultural experience that I wanted, but the activities definitely made the program worth it to me."

"Loved it. Highly recommend. I would have done the course for longer."

"I enjoyed every aspect of the classes, from lectures about Italy's response to COVID-19 and listening to guest speakers who live in Italy, to doing cultural activities like making risotto and painting."