Some University of South Carolina students are being forced to end their semester abroad early as the coronavirus takes over Italy.
One of the university's Global Partner Programs, SAI Programs, announced Monday the suspension of all programs in Italy. In an email sent to students from SAI President, Michael Cruciano, it says they must leave the country and check out of their SAI program by Thursday, March 21.
News19 spoke with USC junior, Julia Manware, who is studying in Florence, Italy at the Florence University of the Arts. She says they traveled to Italy on January 28th and started classes at the beginning of February. Her semester was supposed to end mid-May. Now, she is packing three months worth of traveling into just a few days.
"A lot of us were devastated to get that email that it was official that we had to leave. That we didn't have the choice," she said. "A lot of emotions are running around whether that be like fear. Some people are fearful, but a lot of kids are just angry, sad, really disappointed."
Manware says she has been dreaming of studying abroad since she was in high school and had been saving up money for the trip. Right now, she is taking classes in Italy that she would not be able to take at home. Now, they will most likely have to finish those classes online, back in the United States.
USC sent a notice to students abroad on Saturday, strongly encouraging them to return home and anyone that decides to stay must sign a waiver.
Manware says she appreciates the choice to stay as she was not fearful for her safety.
"I personally feel like I wasn't in any danger here. I felt that our program was gonna tell us when the appropriate time was to send us home before it was too late and get stuck here. So I was planning on staying mainly," she says.
In the email from SAI Programs, it says they will continue assisting students to arrange their return home. It also says they are working to refund some costs.