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A virus interrupts the Italian interlude | News, Sports, Jobs



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Cinestie Olson, graduate of Webster City, second from the left in the front row, and her study abroad group take advantage of some free time in Italy during Fano !, for Carnevale which is a holiday in culture Italian.

Editor’s note: This is the second in a two-part series of study trips abroad by Cinestie Olson, a graduate of Webster City.


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WEBSTER CITY – When Cinestie Olson learned that her four-month international trip was going to be cut short, she was shocked, devastated and heartbroken.

All the planning and the dream of being immersed in a new culture was gone.

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Here is a photo of Urbino, Italy, where Cinestie Olson stayed during her study trip abroad with Iowa State University.

Olson, a graduate of Webster City in 2018, was on a study trip abroad through Iowa State University. The coronavirus pandemic quickly sent Italy on a level 3 alert, forcing the students to return immediately to the United States.

Olson received the email at 2 a.m. on February 29.

“At first, I heard about it on Snapchat with my friends. They asked me if I looked at my email, then I saw it, ”said Olson. “I thought it was a joke, but it said we had to go home right away.

“The day before we received an email from the State of Iowa saying they were monitoring everything and that changed overnight. He said we have to be back on March 6. We had to arrange our flights and get a receipt, and we would be reimbursed. “

It was a shock for the second year in the state of Iowa, as she still had three months of cities and countries to visit during her trip.

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It’s a sight in Italy, where Cinestie Olson, a Webster City graduate, traveled on a study trip abroad with Iowa State University.

“I cried and called my mom (Shylo) instantly,” said Olson. “I went to bed and called my aunt Tatum and told my (family) that we were being sent home. After that, our advisor met us at a cafe and we talked about it.

“We weren’t sure what was going to happen. There were no answers – we just knew we had to come back. It was very unexpected. “

COVID-19 was in parts of Italy, but had not yet had much effect on Urbino, the community where Olson resided.

“The day before, no one wore a mask. We were all doing the same thing, ”said Olson. “There have been many cases in the north that have come down. We were taking precautions and washing our hands. We knew what to do.

“We knew it was going to happen, but we didn’t know it would be so bad.”

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Cinestie Olson, a graduate of Webster City, and her study abroad group are enjoying a break in Italy overlooking the city of Fortezza, Italy.

It took Olson about six hours to reorganize her flight, but she was able to return to the United States and Iowa on March 4. Then the slow 15-day self-quarantine process was then implemented.

Olson and the group had to return their temperatures to the ISU daily.

“We were in quarantine from the time we returned home until March 18,” said Olson. “The state of Iowa has sent out a survey for all overseas students. We had to give our temperatures and report if we had a runny nose or a fever.

“I am so happy that none of us have contracted the virus.”

Olson didn’t know what to expect from quarantine. It started out fun, but got boring as the days went on.

“At first, I thought it would be fun to watch TV and relax,” said Olson. “I wanted to exercise and do other things, but I couldn’t. “

Isolated, Olson had the chance to reflect on her adventure and everything that happened.

“I am grateful that we were fired (in retrospect),” said Olson. “But there are times when I think, “I should be in Italy right now …” “

After raising funds to make the trip, Olson hopes to get some of her money back so that she can start planning another trip abroad once everything is back to normal.

“I hope we get a refund, but we still haven’t received a response on this,” said Olson. “I understand, but it would be great to recover (part of the money).

“Obviously, money cannot bring my time back to Italy or make memories, but it would be a good thing.”

With the whole country practicing some form of social distancing, the measures taken to prevent the spread of the virus had an effect on everyone.

“When we came back, they canceled the NBA and the concerts. It was good to take action, ”said Olson. “I am pleased that the United States is now taking more action. “

Olson recently mentioned his stay in Italy and the possibility of traveling the world again.

“I like to travel,” Said Olson. “It was an incredible experience. I think everyone should try it.

“Culture, new language – I loved every minute of it.”

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