Jamestown college student studying abroad in Italy amid coronavirus outbreak


The coronavirus outbreak left one Triad college student with a major decision to make since she’s studying abroad in a country recently impacted by the virus.

UNC-Chapel Hill junior Cori May started her study abroad program at the end of January. She told FOX8 the host university, Florence University of the Arts, where she takes all of her classes, gave students the option to stay in the country or fly back to the states.

“It’s spreading pretty quickly in northern Italy which is a little concerning because that is pretty close to Florence, and so I’m aware that it could easily spread to us and honestly wouldn’t be surprised if it did but personally I’m not that worried about it,” May said.

She said she will most likely finish the program until May when it ends. Cori said over FaceTime Friday afternoon that if students do decide to leave they will not be able to get their money back.

“Two nights ago, they emailed us giving us the option to leave Italy and cancel basically our study abroad and go home and finish our courses online,” May said.

May is three hours away from Lombardy, Italy, where they’ve seen over 300 confirmed cases of the virus and 11 deaths.

“That’s my biggest fear is that for whatever reason coronavirus got really bad in Florence and we were quarantined in Florence and have to be in our apartment and didn’t have class and maybe had online courses and then kind of had nothing to do,” May said.

Back in Jamestown, Cori’s mother, Ruthan May, is sticking behind whatever decision their daughter makes.

“We are leaving it up to her, she’s staying, she’s making the most out of it and we’re not worrying about an unknown that we don’t even know is going to happen,” Ruthan May said.

Cori May said she feels as if it is being closely monitored, but she says others who are part of the program have already flown back home.

“I’ve heard of a lot of students leaving actually. I feel like my classes have dropped 50 percent,” May said.

In the meantime, she’s planning to make the most of out of her study abroad opportunity.

“We’ve already spent so much money on study abroad that going home on Monday and losing everything we’ve invested in this semester would definitely not be ideal so they want me to make the most of it,” May said.

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