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I'm a Finance Major and These are the Non-Business Courses I'm Taking Abroad

Nov 10, 2022 9:30:00 AM / by Lynn Dang

Lynn Dang is a Finance major from University of Pittsburgh who is studying abroad in Florence. She's branching out of her comfort zone this semester and taking classes outside her major. See what courses she picked and how she's been faring in Italy!

CAPA offers an abundance of excellent course options, and I knew I couldn’t make a bad decision about which classes to take in this study abroad program. One of the main reasons I chose to be a CAPA student in Florence is because it is the birthplace of the Renaissance. I am a finance major, but I am excited to branch out of my comfort zone this Fall semester.

Although CAPA offers business internships and academics, I am taking all non-business courses! Deciding to take all humanities courses can be intimidating, especially as a finance major. However, the ability to study these topics in the birthplace of the Renaissance is so special to me. Here is an overview of my classes and what I hope to learn from CAPA Florence.

  1. Renaissance Art History

I am so excited to be part of this Renaissance Art History course. I have never taken a history course at university back in the States, so it is simply thrilling to study the Renaissance where it began. At the time of writing this blog post, I have had one class so far. This three-hour time block included a lecture on the history of Florence and its art, and a walking tour around Florence to make note of historically-relevant places. My professor is from Italy and is very knowledgeable about art history due to her own studies and her residence here. I feel fortunate to learn from her course and learn from both lectures and experiences from walking around.

A view of Florence during the walking component of the Renaissance Art History course

A view of Florence during the walking component of my Renaissance Art History course.
One of the only towers built in the Gothic style in Florence

Seen during my class walking tour, this is one of the only towers built in the Gothic style in Florence. The missing bricks throughout the wall were used for wooden poles to connect buildings to each other.
  1. Interculture and Migration

In addition to a history course, I decided to take a sociology course. I am particularly interested in learning more about Interculture and Migration because of my family’s background of immigration from Asia to the United States. I am fascinated with the role Italy has played and is currently playing in migrants’ journeys. I also believe this course is important to build my intercultural competencies.

This class meets once a week for three hours. The coursework so far has included lectures to define interculture, Italian films exploring migration, and journals that enable students to reflect on the teachings. I am loving this class so far!!

  1. Elementary Italian 1 for Pitt students

I originally had not signed up for this course, but retrospectively, I am happy to be here! Elementary Italian 1 has taught me not just about the Italian Language, but about adjusting to the culture of Florence and Italy. The students gain advice about taking trains, ordering food, and visiting places in addition to learning about the grammar and vocabulary of the Italian language!

There are many students from my home university here at CAPA, so I am in a special class consisting of just Pitt students who need to take Italian 1. As a University of Pittsburgh student, this has been a great way to connect with others easily because they are all familiar with the experience of being a Pitt student. We also meet three times a week for one hour, so the routine of meeting up with my fellow Pitt students can be very comforting.

  1. Beginner Figurative Sculpture

One of the most fun and challenging classes I am taking is Beginning Figurative Sculpture. Learning how to sculpt is no easy feat, especially for a student who is typically in non-creative classes. I knew next to nothing about sculpting, and on the first day of class, we started out by using our hands to mold soft clay into a base. I attempted to make a square base, but it ended up looking more like a circle. We are beginning by sculpting part of Michelangelo’s famous David sculpture, located in Florence! I could choose between a nose and an eye, and I chose to recreate his eye.

My professor is a resident of Florence, who grew up and attended high school in the city. He explained to us how he was able to choose an artist’s academic path through the Florence high school system. It is cool to work with and learn from a true Florentine artist! CAPA also uses an incredibly beautiful studio.

This class meets once a week for three hours. At first, I found the pacing to be slow and felt impatient with my progress on the sculpture. However, I have become more accustomed to Italian culture of slowing down and appreciating every moment of progress!

Student holding her replica base of Michelangelo’s David sculpture

Creating the base of my first sculpture project: a replica of Michelangelo’s David sculpture.
Shelves holding sculpture and art pieces in an art studio

The CAPA Sculpture course is hosted in a beautiful art studio featuring many works from previous students and artists.

Because of my classes at CAPA, integrating into Italian culture has been relatively smooth. Florence feels more and more like home every day, and I am so grateful to live and learn in the birthplace of the Renaissance. Ciao for now!

Thanks, Lynn!

Lynn Dang


Lynn Dang is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2022, sharing
her story in frequent posts on CAPA World. A Finance major from University of Pittsburgh, she is studying abroad in Florence this semester.

Lynn's journey continues all semester so stay tuned.

Learn More about the CAPA Florence Program

Topics: International Education, Florence, Italy, Why Study Abroad