The Coronavirus is threatening study abroad programs

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American college students wearing masks to protect from the Coronavirus in foreign countries.

By Kate Hedger | Writer

March 5, 2020

Studying abroad is something that many students dream of doing when they go away to college. Being able to travel across the world and learn about new cultures is a once in a lifetime opportunity, but this opportunity was cut short for many students during the 2020 spring semester. Because of the rapid outbreak of Coronavirus, students studying in countries such as Italy, South Korea, and China have been sent back home to the US.

For a lot of people, studying abroad is one of the most memorable experiences of their lives.

“Choosing to study abroad in Spain was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” Cal Poly SLO junior Francesa Viera said. “It was so cool to be part of a different culture in a country where there is a lot of history, and along the way, I picked up a lot of Spanish!”

The cancellation of study abroad trips has caused sadness as well as panic for many students. Many are stuck in a situation trying to figure out how they are going to replace classes they would have taken abroad to ensure that they will still graduate on time. 

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Coronavirus statistics as of March 5 for confirmed cases and countries the illness is found in.

Not being able to complete their study abroad program has left many students heartbroken.

“I am so disappointed that my trip to Florence was cut short,” SDSU junior Emma Danley said. “I was having an awesome time learning about Italy and being with my friends. There was so much more that I was looking forward to that I’m not going to get to experience.”

The universities themselves are not in a place of peace either. A lot of them are left with questions on how to provide classes to those who were planning on being away for the semester. Online courses and summer classes are being offered to keep students on track to graduate, but neither of those options are an ideal solution for students with jobs and other commitments.

To date, more than 94,000 people worldwide have been sickened with the virus, and that number is still rising. It is important that universities listen to the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. State Department and take the appropriate precautions to this growing problem, even though it is devastating to a lot of students.

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