By Hannah Privitera
Every year LBC students have the chance to earn college credits in a foreign country. I met with Annalisa Artale and Liz Tognoli to learn the benefits and challenges of their time spent studying abroad in Italy.
The girls participated in a study abroad program to Saints Bible Institute in the small town of San Lorenzo (near Venice). They experienced the food, culture and people of the country of Italy while completing 18 college credits. Besides classes, the girls travelled nearly every Saturday and built close relationships with the other students.
Their cultural immersion enabled them to learn the train system and enough of the language to order gelato and get around. They both gained fresh appreciation for beauty. “Italy taught me to appreciate living in the moment [and] beauty in general,” Tognoli told me. She also described her new-found appreciation for art and history.
Artale appreciated the close community, saying it “encouraged and challenged me in my own faith.” She also enjoyed the ability to embrace a slower style of life. “You enjoy the present.”
Tognoli said the trip reminded her “to be a life-long learner by living in a different culture, and learning how to appreciate the diversity in the world”. She said, “It humbles you a little bit because you realize that just because you’re from America doesn’t make you better than other cultural backgrounds.”
Would they recommend other students to study abroad?
Artale said, “If you ever get the chance to study abroad, don’t even think about it. Just do it.”
Tognoli stated, “Visiting any country is a privilege that many people don’t get. So, if the opportunity arises, you should take it because God has created different cultures, and you can’t appreciate it if you don’t go to another country.”
Artale concluded, “All the things I got to experience changed who I was because it was a unique experience. I can honestly say that everything I experienced has shaped me into who I am. All the experiences I had over there were so meaningful that even the stupid things, or silly decisions shaped me. I learned from it. I honestly wouldn’t have changed a moment.”
Photo: The city of Florence, Italy (credit: Hannah Privitera)