MU student in Italy hopes to stay abroad as coronavirus spreads
COLUMBIA - As the coronavirus spreads to different parts of the world, one MU student is seeing the changes in Italy.
MU student Ariana Santilli attends Florence University of the Arts through SAI. Her program is not affiliated through MU, but her courses at Florence University will transfer as MU credits.
Santilli said the coronavirus outbreak started in the northern regions of Italy.
"I was actually in Venice last weekend before they announced that you shouldn't travel to Venice," Santilli said. "It was funny because the first two days I was there, it was like the most joyous city ever because everyone was in costumes. There was music."
Santilli said when she left Venice on Saturday, it was a completely different city.
"They started to quarantine in Venice," Santilli said. "Everyone is in masks and there were gates and police officers everywhere. Even the weather got gloomy and cloudy that day. It was so different from the Venice I experienced just 24 hours before that."
She said she wants to stay positive through this and not jump to conclusions.
"I think the best way to handle a situation like this is to be calm, to stay positive, to focus on the good things you do have in your life and be as smart and as safe as possible. That's all you can do," Santilli said.
Santilli's mother, Monica Santilli, said she is a bit anxious about the coronavirus breaking out where her daughter is.
"I'm nervous about it, but I'm also glad that the program is being kind of reasonable and sensible," Santilli said.
But, her mother said she still wants Ariana to have the experience of a lifetime in Italy, studying abroad.
"I guess I am hopeful that she will be able to stay in Italy. That's what I would really like. I would feel really sad if she had to come home. She's having a wonderful time," Santilli said.
KOMU 8 reached out to the MU International Center Wednesday afternoon. An employee said there are 5 MU study abroad programs, including 26 students, in Italy right now. The MU International Center said they will continue to keep an eye on things each day.