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

Due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, Tippie winter global programs will be run in a remote, virtual format. Programs will not involve international travel in Winter 2020. 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, this is an unprecedented time in Italy, Europe, and the world.

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. Ultimately, we settle in with discussions about individual lives and responses.

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.

The course will take several forms: live Zoom meetings, hands-on activities, pre-recorded material, presentations with companies, ICON materials, and conversations with Italian peer students. Through this, we will explore the business, social, and political environment of Europe and Italy, including the response to the pandemic. The course will feature guest speakers, including local Italians and immigrants who will share their expertise on Italian culture and business. Sample seminars include Italian regional cuisine, a hands-on cooking class, and the impact of tourism on the city of Venice. To help make this experience hands on, each participant will receive a box filled with supplies that we will use during the class activities. 

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
Italian town in the mountains

Course topics may include

  • 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
Italian building on the water

Cultural activities may include

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

Important Dates and Application


  • Applications for winter break December 2020 - January 2021 are closed

Tentative Virtual Class Dates:

  • December 28, 29
  • January 4 – 15 
  • Virtual class dates will be finalized in late October
  • Class format will include live video, Zoom meetings, hands-on activities, presentations with companies, ICON materials, taped videos, and conversations with Italian student peers.
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 over winter break. Program fee includes cultural activity supplies that will be mailed to each participant. There is a $50 application fee for this program. 

This program qualifies for study abroad scholarships through both Tippie and the Study Abroad office. 

Apply for Tippie Scholarships