The cancellation of my program has been disappointing, but it does make sense, given the way that we’ve seen countries like Italy become overrun with the virus. That is the scary thing about the pandemic, the virus spreads incredibly fast, and the actions that national governments are taking can change an entire situation in a couple of hours. These two factors made the night that my program got canceled pretty chaotic because the number of cases in Madrid increased dramatically around the same time that President Donald J. Trump was announcing the travel ban. In a matter of hours, my departure date went from May 14 to sometime before March 18 to possibly March 13 and then ended as March 14.

I will say, however, that Wartburg and my study abroad provider have been readily available to help and support me in any way they can. At times the situation has been frustrating, even with their help, because I never know what steps to take and the decisions I do make are impacted by the level of risk around me. However, given the fact that this virus is new and unique, I have consistently been well informed and advised by those around me, and that has made the whole situation easier to manage.

Needless to say, I’m looking forward to being safe at home tomorrow, so that all of this can start turning into an interesting story I will tell one day. I will most likely have to self-quarantine at home when I arrive, but at least that will give me time to process and reflect on my experience in Europe in the midst of the coronavirus.

  • Alana Harms, fourth-year religion and Spanish major studying abroad in Spain






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