Coronavirus and Lessons Learned

Written by Allyssa March 20, 2020

Coronavirus – it’s a hot topic these days and reasonably so. Hardly anybody knew what it was or that it even existed just a few weeks ago. Then it started to spread to South Korea, Japan, and of course Italy. 

And of all semesters, of all years, of all countries, I decided to study abroad in Italy at the same time the virus began to go from a small issue in China to a worldwide pandemic. Of course, safety being the first priority of everyone involved, the CIMBA program decided to cut the semester short and send their students back home to the U.S. Now, I understand that it was the best thing to do for our safety and for the sake of the panicking parents back home. But, it doesn’t make it suck any less… 

Studying abroad and staying in a foreign country for three months is an amazing opportunity but my experience had to be cut in half.. Nevertheless, we need to look at the bright side. The glass is always half full, right? 

Despite the odd circumstances, I would never think of regretting my decision to study abroad this semester because it wouldn’t have been the same otherwise. I wouldn’t have met the people who quickly became my friends and I wouldn’t have had so many exciting stories to tell. What I got to experience was absolutely incredible and it changed me for the better. I learned so much about myself and the world while studying in Italy with CIMBA. 

A rollercoaster of emotions went through me as I prepared to return home. I was sad to leave Italy but I have to admit I was also missing home. Now that I’m home, I’ve been able to settle back into a good routine and come to terms with it all. CIMBA will still be allowing us to earn this semester’s credits through online classes. They seem to still be struggling with figuring out exactly how they’re going to adapt our in-class assignments to online, which is understandable since they have never had to deal with such a situation before. 

There are a lot of lessons to be learned with the current situation around the world and having been abroad at such a terrible time. One of the biggest lessons for me being – buy travel insurance when planning trips! Early on in the semester, my friends and I had already made our plans for the whole semester, purchased our flights, hostels, tickets, nearly everything. I remember seeing the option for travel insurance and we thought, “Nah, what could possibly happen? Of course we’re going to go!”

And here we are.

So, my friends… get insurance! It seems like a waste of money at the time but from experience, it would have been so worth it. I got lucky with a flight or two because the airline cancelled the flight so they offered a refund but that was not even a quarter of what I spent. 

One other lesson that I would like to share is make the most of your time. I was always told that but my response was always, “Oh, I can do that later.” Well, ladies and gentlemen and nonbinary individuals, there just might not be a “later”. Enjoy life to the fullest and take advantage of all the opportunities that come your way. It’s better to say “I did” than “I could have”.

This journey has come to an end but another one is always around the corner. Wish me luck in mine and I will continue to wish you all the best for yours, wherever you may be and wherever you may go. Take care of yourself and always keep others in mind. Ciao!