Dec 2, 2008

Italian getaway — Studying abroad

by Matthew Coleman

Tensions are steadily mounting as the inevitable agony of final exams draws nearer by the day. For those students who dread the thought of spending the next few days in the library studying or in windowless classrooms trying desperately to remember every fact and detail, a change of scenery may be beneficial.

Last summer, seven Liberty students spread their wings and moved their schooling beyond the confines of Liberty Mountain and experienced a semester abroad at Saints Bible Institute (SBI) in San Lorenzo, Italy, granting them the opportunity to see the world while earning school credit. This opportunity will be available this summer for interested students.
Founded by Rev. Sam Spatola, the SBI learning facility is a 200-year-old farmhouse that was converted into a residence hall and school, according to the SBI Web site. The facility includes a male and female dorm, student lounge, resource center, kitchen and dining room.

Forty-two students can be housed at SBI each semester. According to Dean of School of Religion Elmer Towns, the Liberty students who attended last summer took four classes during the 90-day semester: Evangelism 101, Old Testament Survey, the Gospel John (taught by Towns) and Church History.

SBI was built with the intention of helping students grow spiritually while introducing them to Italian culture and fostering a heart for missions, according to Towns.

The classes taken are modular intensives, meaning the students meet five times a week and stay in class for eight hours each day. This provides the necessary credit hours required to make classes accredited.

Outside of the time spent in the classrooms, SBI makes Italy’s wealth of cultural history available for students. The school is located within easy travel distance to many tourist locations, such as Venice and Rome.

“Why settle for photos from a textbook when you can see things firsthand?” the SBI Web site said.

SBI is set apart from other schools and classrooms because there is a chance to see the Biblical history the students work so feverishly to learn about. The locations and events being taught in the classroom are not on the other side of the planet, but only short bus ride away.

The application for acceptance into SBI is a little more complex than a normal college. Along with the standard application procedure, every applicant must obtain a letter of recommendation from a pastor to be admitted.  


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