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MSU student studying abroad may lose credits after she was told to leave amid coronavirus fears

Posted at 10:23 PM, Mar 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-02 23:18:43-05

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. (WXYZ) — A student from Michigan State University studying abroad in Italy has been told she needs to pack up and return home amid fear of the coronavirus.

The study abroad program is a collaboration between MSU and the University of California. But now students are wondering how they’re going to get the rest of their credits.

The program is spearheaded by the University of California, this is the first year MSU joined the program.

"We’re being told that we can’t be reimbursed for our housing, we can’t be reimbursed for our credits, but we’re also being told we’re not getting full credit," said MSU student Danielle Petras.

Danielle is in Italy for a study abroad program. She’s been there since January 7. But since the spread of the coronavirus, students of the program have been told it’s over and to return home.

"It’s put a lot of us in freak out mode because, not only are we trying to scramble to find flights home and how we’re going to get home, but now we have to worry about all this other stuff and additional students have to find a way to make up these credits that we are not being awarded," she said.

Danielle’s father says the program was fully paid for, including room and board, but now they’re not sure what happens next.

"We’re kind of like okay we have three weeks to go in the semester and they’re talking partial credit. We’ll that doesn’t seem fair. A loss of the credit potentially now, I don’t want to say for sure. Hopefully they’re going to come up with a plan, but until then we don’t know," said Don Petras.

To make matters worse Danielle had a big spring trip planned after the program ended. Now, that appears to be off too.

"My daughter had booked this dream spring break and these European airlines over there are not responsive and they’re not allowing us to get a refund when we didn’t ask to go home," said Don.

Danielle says she doesn’t know where or even how she’s going to get her remaining credits, but says the University of California should see what universities in Italy are doing and take note.

"I feel as though a lot of the other universities throughout Italy have a way better plan. They have options for students to take classes online or ways to complete their semester," she said.

We reached out to the University of California to see what they plan on doing next but haven’t heard back.

Danielle says she is supposed to leave Italy on March 9th.