WKU keeping students safe who are studying abroad

Published: Feb. 27, 2020 at 4:46 PM CST
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Western Kentucky University prides itself on being an American University with International reach.

All WKU students are encouraged to study abroad but with the Coronavirus outbreak, the university's first priority is keeping its students safe.

"We are paying very close attention to what is happening all over the world, looking at how it is spreading, looking at what the impact is, who it affects and so forth," said John Sunnygard, Associate Provost of Global Learning and International Affairs. "We are paying very close attention to the official declarations about what one should and shouldn't do and where one should and shouldn't travel."

So far the Coronavirus has only effected 3 students studying abroad in China for the flagship program. They were sent home a few weeks ago and asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.

"That was definitely crazy I got a little bit of Stockholm syndrome, I don't know if that is the right word but I was stuck inside and trying to keep motivated," said student Bradley Samuel Orr. "But it was definitely sad being ripped away from your friends and everything so fast."

The three students said being in China during the outbreak and witnessing empty it was a strange experience.

"We left pretty late compared to the rest of our fellow classmates, so you could see the streets got less and fewer people and more and more abandoned. Like, masks started selling out and even some stores got boarded up, it was pretty wild"

There are 10 WKU students who are planning to study abroad in South Korea this summer, but it's unknown at this time if they will be able to go.

"We haven't had to cancel any programs yet although we do have 10 students who are hoping to go to South Korea," added Sunnygard. "Right now they cannot go to South Korea so we are not quite sure what is going to happen with that."

Two of the students who were sent home from China do plan on returning in the fall to finish out their flagship programs.