Coronavirus spreads in Italy, threatens study abroad programs

Michaela Lumpert, Campus Carrier news editor

 Over the weekend, the coronavirus epidemic reached Italy. As the outbreak continues to spread across Italy, concerns regarding American students studying abroad in the country are as well. According to a CNN article from yesterday, so far five American universities have ended their Italian study abroad programs and have made participating students return to the United States.

Currently, Berry’s International Experiences office is monitoring the situation for students studying abroad. Director of International Experiences Chris Borda confirmed that there are Berry students studying abroad in Italy. As of right now, their programs have not been cancelled or delayed, but they are awaiting future instructions from the State Department.

In scenarios like this, Borda explained that the State Department and the variety of programs hosting students are the ones to make the call about cancelling a specific program. If the situation worsens and endangers the students there, then the program will send the students home. 

As of now, Borda said that most of the students abroad should follow the recommendations from their program leaders, the Italian government and the State Department. These recommendations include limiting foreign travel to areas at risk of an outbreak, practicing healthy hygiene and following guidelines set by their programs. 

On Jan. 15, the State Department released the first travel advisory for Italy, labeling it as a level-two country. This means that students can still travel and remain in study abroad programs, just under increased caution from both their home institutions and their programs. 

Sophomore Julia Schnader is currently studying abroad in Venice, Italy with the CIMBA Italy program. She is not currently facing threats of her program being cancelled but has been told to limit her foreign travel 

“We are still travelling freely between countries on the weekend, but have been advised to be careful about certain areas that have higher levels of outbreaks like Florence,” Schnader said. 

As Schnader explained, she worries for the future of the program if the situation worsens, but is ready to fully cooperate with CIMBA in the case her program is cancelled because the area is deemed unsafe. 

As the situation progresses, both the Campus Carrier and Viking Fusion will be following the story. For continuous updates check

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