Getting to know Florence

Ciao! My name is Eric Munjack and I am a junior majoring in finance and minoring in economics. I am currently doing the Pitt GBI in Florence, Italy. Back in Pittsburgh I take my academics seriously and enjoying some of the more challenging business courses. I am always looking for real world experience and have had internships in financial services.

Ever since I was young, my family stressed the importance of travel. Both my sister and father studied abroad in Spain when they were in college and had a once in a lifetime experience. For me, it was not a question of if I was going to study abroad, but rather, it was a question of where. After much thought I came to the conclusion that Pitt’s Global Business Institute was the perfect option for me. Through this program I am able to take unique and interesting classes that I would not otherwise take (like intro to sculpture) all while finishing my degree on time. As for Italy specifically, I knew I wanted to challenge myself. I didn’t want to go to an english speaking country because I wanted to really experience a different culture. In my opinion, language is one of the most important parts of any culture! One of my major goals throughout my time in Florence is to learn basic proficiency in Italian so I can speak with the locals. Further, Italians take their food and coffee very (very) seriously which is one of the many things we have in common.


All Pitt students take their classes through CAPA which is a program specifically for study abroad students from US colleges. Although there are many fellow Pitt students, I am meeting other students from other colleges such as CU Boulder, University of Indiana, and University of Massachusetts to name a few. The classes themselves are all two and a half hours except for Italian which is an hour and fifteen minutes. For me, each class is once a week with the exception of Italian which is twice a week. Luckily, I have a few classes on the same day meaning I only have class Monday – Wednesday (I have a four day weekend every week!). I will say that a two and a half hour class is a long time and I find it hard to stay focused at times. However, copious amounts of espresso helps minimize this problem (I usually have around 3-6 cups a day, it’s a cultural thing). CAPA is a small institution compared to a state university which means that it’s more of a tight knit community. All of CAPA’s staff is very personable and extremely helpful.


I live with a loving Italian family in a very residential area of Florence. I have one roommate and we are very good friends. I am a 45 minute walk to class but luckily CAPA provides bus passes so I take the bus every day to and from CAPA. I would not want to live anywhere else because my neighborhood is full of local shops and authentic restaurants. Since we are outside of the center, we only interact with local Florentines. Even though communicating is a bit tricky, I am so thankful for my living situation because I am constantly learning new aspects of Italian culture and language.