Annabelle Barragan, a Waubonsee student studying business, was on a study abroad program in Canterbury, England this spring when travel restrictions were put in place because of the coronavirus.
Barragan became friends with many students from several other study abroad programs from all around the world. These students began receiving emails from their program managers letting them know that they should be able to finish their program in England. Then one of these students received an email with instructions to return home immediately. Three other students received a similar email the next day. Barragan received instructions to return home a few days later.
Over the course of a few days—and just a few days before spring break—this group of students left their study abroad program in England and returned home to six different countries.
Barragan worked two jobs to save the money necessary to get the study abroad experience. Even after that and having the experience cut short, she is glad for it.
“It was a beautiful place. The best part was the cathedral that stood in the middle of the town. It was giant; a castle-like building straight out of the movies. Getting to walk to classes with that in my view was a small but great part of my day while there,” said Barragan.
While the scenery and buildings were a great part of the experience for Barragan, the people she met made it worthwhile.
“Living there gave me the chance to befriend people all across the world. Getting to talk to so many different people and see all the funny and surprising ways we’re all the same. We all made lifelong memories and friends that we never would have made if it were not for the program,” said Barragan.