Mediterranean Politics, Food
and Culture

in Barcelona, Florence, Syracuse

Fall Semester
August 26 - December 16, 2022

Program Application

Experience Three Gems of the Mediterranean…

This interdisciplinary semester brings students to three dynamic European cities to study the role of agriculture and food consumption in the formation and evolution of Mediterranean gastronomic, historical, and cultural identities. In the context of each unique host-region: Catalonia, Tuscany, and Sicily, and the global initiatives linked to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, students explore the social and political complexities of the Mediterranean through the lens of food, analyzing the factors that unify the region, its cultures and cuisines and their contributions worldwide.  

Courses are hosted in Accent Study Centers in Florence and Syracuse, and at Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. Class sizes are small, and students enjoy close relationships with faculty, who lead visits, tours, and excursions outside of the classroom.  

With a focus on migration and urbanization, global trade relations, cultural identity, and the quest for sustainability, this program is ideally suited for students with interests in:  

  • Anthropology  
  • Political Science  
  • Migration Studies  
  • History  
  • Environmental Studies & Sustainability 
  • Food Studies  
  • Global Studies  


University of Pittsburgh students enroll through the Accent/University of California Education Abroad Program. Courses are hosted in Accent Study Centers in Florence and Syracuse, and at Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. Class sizes are small, and students enjoy close relationships with faculty, who frequently accompany visits, tours, and excursions outside of the classroom. 

 Students spend five weeks in each program location and enroll in four courses for a total of 14 credits. This program includes two required 4-credit umbrella courses taught across all three locations and a choice of two 3-credit site specific courses. 

All courses are taught in English at the upper-division level. Courses in all locations are complemented by visits to local markets, urban farms, various organizations, migrant neighborhoods, vineyards, museums, agricultural sites, and media production centers. 

Course Offerings

Umbrella Courses (required)
Two umbrella courses taught across all locations weave together themes and perspectives of the three areas of focus: Florence, Syracuse, and Barcelona.

This course introduces students to the cultural history of the Mediterranean through the lens of food. By critically reflecting on the interplay of tradition and innovation in food systems, students will study theMediterranean from antiquity to the modern era to analyze the social history of exchanges, interactions, and cultural encounters and their role in the development of sustainable food practices.The course will make use of theUnited Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as a framework to understand and explore the relationship between innovation and sustainability in contemporary food systems.

Regionalism, cosmopolitanism, and orientalism are the three distinct forms of relationality shaping cultural encounters within the Mediterranean, in the form of either rapprochements or conflicts, and they provide the conceptual toolbox to engage with the three city modules in a comparative manner. Students discuss the impact of the opening of the Atlantic and the Columbian exchange on food systems and Mediterranean trade relations. They critically analyze imperial networks in the Mediterranean and the role of port cities as hubs of economic interactions among diverse cultures. Finally, they study various forms of cultural encounters and their implications for the development and transformation of regional and local identities.

The course discusses 20th-and 21st-century nationalism, trans-national exchanges, and identity building in the Mediterranean by looking at food ways in Florence, Syracuse and Barcelona. Touching upon 19th-century nation state formation and the rise, in 20th-century Italy and Spain, of nationalist propaganda and authoritarian ideologies and regimes, it analyzes post-WWII economic development and the social impact of agricultural modernization and food industrialization. It also critically addresses the role of Neoliberalism in reshaping ethnic and national identities.

Students consider how food, food practices, and public food policies have been central to nation building projects as well as the rescaling of national economies and identities in the Mediterranean area. They examine the encounters between the local/national and the global and the new relations, tensions, and conflicts they create. Topics of inquiry include contemporary ethnic politics, migration, and the rise of new forms of racism and religious tensions, modernization and evolving habits of mass consumption in the 20th century, and the effects of globalization on food systems. Special consideration is given to internal and international migration flows in the Mediterranean, especially from Africa.

Site Specific Courses (choose two)
Three site-specific courses, one in each city, are shorter and focus on the individual city and their unique configurations of food production and consumption. You select two of three courses to take. The site-specific courses are designed to enrich your sensibilities, imaginations, and knowledge about the complexities of regional differences in terms of class, gender, and ethnicity and their resonances in everyday life. 

At the end of the twentieth century, the official reinvention of the city for the 1992 Olympic games placed Barcelona on the map for the rest of the world. The dramatic changes in the cityscape post-1992, as well as the clever marketing campaigns, rapidly turned Barcelona into the place to be. In the wave of that international renown, Ferran Adrià’s worldwide fame influenced and revolutionized not only the work of many chefs, but also the ways in which we all understand the creative process behind transforming food into cooking and cuisine.

The city and industry would never again be the same, but thirty years later and with theUN Sustainable Development Goal 2 on the horizon, Barcelona is now looking at the significant tensions that this transformation involved in terms of gentrification, food insecurity, and social inequalities. This course will explore the clash between the celebrated innovation of cuisine that transformed Barcelona and  the complex challenges of the resulting twenty-first-century global city, thus deconstructing the myths of food and celebrity.

This course offers an in-depth analysis of the multidimensional social challenges that are embedded in the global food systems, utilizing the Sicilian food ways as a case study. Immigration from Africa and the Middle East, recent food quality discourses and fair-trade practices intersect in Sicily, at the center of the Mediterranean, offering a rich landscape of NGOs and businesses that lead the social change towards a more equitable and just system of food production, distribution and consumption.

We will discuss the experiences of the migrant agricultural labor force, seeking to create a better life for themselves far from their homelands; we will learn about the agricultural system into which they find themselves inserted. Combined with an in-depth introduction to the new regimes of food quality that have influenced the emergence of prestigious and innovative food brands and labels in Sicily, we will use our new understanding of the trends of the recent past to map the possible developments that Sicilian cuisine may take in the future.

Tuscany is a world  renowned producer of fine quality wine, olive oil and a wide variety of typical food products. Over the last few years, a growing number of Tuscan food entrepreneurs have embraced the principles of sustainability, through the introduction of business practices designed to minimize the consumption of natural resources, reduce emissions and, ultimately, protect the environment for future generations. Sustainable productions, alongside iconic rural landscapes, farms and vineyards, attract visitors from all over the world and thus make a positive contribution to the tourist industry and the local economy as a whole.

This course focuses on Tuscany’s food industry and its commitment to sustainability, as well as its relationship with tourism. It specifically explores how sustainability has impacted the food supply chain, inbound tourist flows and food firms’ competitiveness. The course analyzes a wide range of academic and managerial issues in connection with real-world business situations, thereby linking theory and practice.

In all courses, instructors use the cities as course material, so classroom lectures and discussions are enhanced by walking tours and visits to both urban and rural destinations that contribute to immersion in the subject matter. Study visits include food producers, NGOs, local government offices, and more. In the site-specific courses, you’ll conduct independent research that draws upon coursework to analyze your experiences and observations in each site. 

Courses are taught by professors from local universities who are passionate about their subjects and about their cities. Their infectious enthusiasm and knowledge of the cities amplifies your experience, making the information-packed semester quickly fly by. 

Key program themes that may be of interest to students are: 

  • Grassroots organizing and its impact on social change  
  • Migration, human trafficking and modern slavery, and social integration  
  • Cultural identities, national identity, and intersectionality  
  • Public policy, social support systems, and public health

Program At A Glance

    Program Price: $12,125

  • 12 Course credits
  • Double room in shared student apartment
  • Guided walking tour of Florence and markets
  • Professional cooking course in Florence
  • Evening performances in Florence such as Opera, Classical Musical concert, or similar
  • Day trip to a local winery from Florence (including transport and tasting)
  • In-depth city guided tours
  • Guided tour of Barcelona and markets
  • Course-specific site visits and guest lectures
  • Visit to Sagrada Familia in Barcelona
  • Flamenco performance in Barcelona
  • One-day excursion to Monserrat from Barcelona, including public transportation, guided visit to the Basilica, a performance by the Boys' Choir, and a hiking trail at the natural park
  • Guided tour of Syracuse and markets
  • One-day excursion to Mt. Etna from Syracuse, including guided tour and coach transport
  • Air transfer between first two city destinations
  • Pre-departure and overseas orientation program
  • Overseas Accent on-site staff support in each city
  • 24-hour emergency and counseling support
  • Transferable college credit through University of Pittsburg

    Unique Study Opportunities

  • Small class sizes, close relationships with faculty who accompany frequent visits and tours outside classroom
  • Meet with representatives of NGOs, cooperatives, and research foundations to explore Mediterranean food practices
  • Discover how the legacies of slavery, colonialism, nationalism, migration movements, and globalization manifest through food traditions, politics, and identity
  • Learn about the management of food markets, wineries, olive oil mills, and organic farms
  • Make and taste your own pasta, chocolate, and cheese
  • Cooking classes with Professional chefs

Students on this program share a double room in apartments with other University of Pittsburg participants in all three locations. Apartments are centrally located and close to program centers. All apartments are equipped with the following:

  • Washer
  • Wi-Fi
  • Fully-equipped kitchen or Kitchenette
  • Bathroom and Bedroom Linens
  • Heating
  • Microwave and/or oven

Housing is NOT provided during the program break (Nov. 2 - 9).

Classes will be held at the Accent Study Centers in Florence and Syracuse, and at Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Poblenou in Barcelona.

  • Application due: with first payment
  • Second payment due: May 31
  • Final payment due: June 30
  • Departure from U.S.: August 25
  • Arrival in Barcelona: August 26
  • Overseas orientation: August 27-28
  • Classes begin: August 29
  • Transfer to Florence: September 21 (pre-arranged group flight included in program)
  • Fall break: November 2 - 9 (no pre-paid or pre-arranged transportation, no housing, and no luggage storage provided by program)
  • Arrival in Syracuse: November 10
  • Return to U.S.: December 16

All participants must check in at the designated arrival point on August 26, 2022 between 9am and 6pm (Note: most transatlantic flights arrive one day after their departure date). Airfare is not included in the program fee. All participants will receive a transit pass.

Air transfer between Barcelona and Florence is included in the program.

Transfer between Florence and Syracuse is not included as students will be traveling on their own in Europe during the fall break. After the break, students are responsible for getting themselves to the designated arrival point in Syracuse on November 10, 2022, for the last segment of the program.

The Mediterranean Politics, Food and Culture Program is open to students who are at least 18 years of age at the time of application, have at least a 2.5 GPA and have sophomore, junior or senior standing. There are no prerequisite courses, and no minimum language requirements

Program space is limited. Students should complete the online application with the $500 non-refundable first payment as soon as possible. Upon receipt of your application and first payment, Accent will provide you with additional application and enrollment forms. Applications must be received by June 1, 2022. Beyond June 1, enrollment is on a space available basis.

  • Round-trip airfare
  • University of Pittsburgh fees
  • Personal expenses, passports, visas, books, and anything not listed as included
  • Meals, other than described
  • Accommodation during fall break
  • Air transfer to thrid city after fall break
  • Travel and Personal property insurance

The health and wellbeing of all students, faculty and staff are paramount to Accent Global Learning. Accent has worked with a Medical Advisor following WHO and local health authority guideline to put protocols in place. Students will learn about Covid-19 related protocols, health resources and local regulations through pre-departure materials and in on-site orientations.

All participants are required to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Many European sites, restaurants, museums and other venues require proof of vaccination in order to enter.

Should a participant test positive for Covid-19, they will be required to self-isolate at their own expense.

Payment Schedule

Non-refundable first payment – $500
Second payment due May 31, 2022 – $5,812

Final payment due June 30, 2022 – $5,813

The payment schedule is the applicant’s contractual obligation. Failure to make each payment when due shall automatically cancel participant from the program one week after payment due date. All payments are effective the day they are received by the Accent U.S. Office. Accent, in its sole discretion, may reinstate an applicant subject to availability of space and late enrollment fees. The program participant shall be the client of Accent for all purposes. The program price is based on 15 participants, the price may change depending on final enrollment.


Cancellation Fees:
70 days or more prior to start of program: $500
45 – 69 days prior to start of program: $3638
15 – 44 days prior to start of program: $6063
0 – 14 days prior to start of program: no refund
All cancellations must be made in writing to Accent and the University of Pittsburgh and are effective the date of receipt by Accent. Participants are liable for payments until written cancellation is received by Accent.

Ready to spend a semester in the Mediterranean?

Program Application

Accent Global Learning is not responsible for airline delays of any kind, or for expenses or loss incurred as a result of such delays. With regard to transportation/travel, regardless of the type of vehicle, Accent acts for the passenger as agent only. Accent assumes no liability for accident, injury, damage, or loss in any vehicle, or as a result of default by any person or company engaged in transporting the passenger. CST #1013432-40.