Mount Vernon Nazarene University finds many ways to allow students to experience other lifestyles and cultures. One such experience is a spring break trip to Italy. This year, however, due to concerns over COVID-19, the students who travelled to Italy also experienced a 14-day quarantine upon returning to the US.
“There was low risk going into the trip,” said junior Emily Cobb. “There were more active cases of the virus in the United States than in Italy the morning we left.” “We were made aware of the problem when we landed in Milan,” said senior Josh Fowler. “We were supposed to spend a day [in Milan], but the plan was changed to leave for Venice immediately to avoid exposure.”
The Italy trip was designed to be an educational experience for students to see and experience many significant elements of Italian history, art, and culture. “A once in a lifetime experience,” said senior Tori Teague. Her favorite part of the trip was “walking around at night and seeing all of the city lights.”
The students learned of the 14-day quarantine requirement on their last evening in Italy. “I felt fine knowing we were going to have to self-quarantine. I think that’s because I was expecting it anyway,” Teague said. “It seemed like the wisest choice.”
“Quarantine is actually really interesting,” said Teague. “I’m a senior art major… which means our things were delivered to us so that we could still work. I’m really thankful for the thoughtfulness of the decisions-makers in regard to us.” Cobb was self-quarantined in her family’s basement. “I have my own bathroom, kitchen, TV, and snacks that were stocked by my family before I arrived home,” she said. “I talk to my family from the bottom of the stairs.”
“I wouldn’t change anything about the trip,” said Cobb. “It would have been nice if the coronavirus outbreak hadn’t happened, but the timing worked out perfectly that we were able to go and return safely and in good health.”
“All the things that I was able to experience [in Italy] was worth having to spend 14 days trapped in my basement,” said Fowler. Art major Teague agrees. “I would have 100% still traveled to Italy if I knew quarantine was inevitable,” she said. “The trip was magical from start to finish and I will never forget it.”