Now That Coronavirus Has Canceled Your Study Abroad Trip, Here’s How To Get A Refund

So your study abroad trip was canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak? 

Here’s how to get your money back. 

Upload all payment receipts to your application on the College’s study abroad site, Terra Dotta. You should also email Gabriela Esteves, director of Global Student Programs, to confirm the amount that needs to be refunded. 

Miami Dade College will begin the reimbursement process this week. 

“Kindly note that the process is lengthy and can take several weeks,” Esteves wrote in an email to students.

Nearly 100 students planned to attend one of eight trips scheduled for this summer to countries like Italy, Spain and Japan, according to college officials.  

“Please know that this has been a difficult decision given all the effort and enthusiasm we all have invested in the program…,” Esteves wrote. “However, the safety of our students and our faculty is our top priority.”

The cancellation comes after a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to cancel study abroad trips due to the virus’ spread.  

Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is a respiratory virus with no treatment as of yet. It originated in China, and has spread to 77 countries worldwide with 90,893 cases reported as of today, according to the CDC and World Health Organization. 

The WHO said the Republic of Korea, Italy, Iran and Japan are the areas of greatest concern.  

The College had three trips planned in these locations—an introduction to cultural anthropology class in Japan, an arts and humanities class in Italy and a month-long anatomy and physiology class in Florence. 

The month long trip to Florence, facilitated by Hialeah Campus math professor Carlos Ruiz, was meant to teach students about Italy’s contributions to science and the arts through a human anatomy and physiology 2 and lab supplement at the Lorenzo de’ Medici School. Students also planned visits to historical sites and museums to learn about the country’s origins.

Other trips, not taking place at any of the WHO’s hotspots, have also been canceled in case any more countries are added to the list. 

“The way that the trends are looking, you know, countries can be added,” said Juan Mendieta, director of communications at MDC. “We want to take the most precautionary posture possible.”

Study abroad trips are meant to expose students to different cultures around the world. The trips are facilitated with MDC professors, and range between one to six weeks.    

Cost, which fluctuates between $2,168 to $2,999, generally includes round-trip airfare, lodging, transportation and cultural site visits, depending on the trip. 

Sierra Bice, a 19-year-old education major from Wolfson Campus, was accepted into the Japan program. 

“It would’ve felt like a burden to go because it’s like, ‘oh no, I have to, you know, prepare for this coronavirus’,” Bice said. “It’s already here in Florida, so just imagine having, you know, 100 students or like 30 students come back with possibly having a virus.” 

Bice has paid $2,400 thus far for the trip, including a $300 non-refundable deposit. It is unclear whether she will get that deposit back. 

Other colleges around Florida have canceled or postponed their study abroad trips. They include the University of Florida, Florida State University and Florida Atlantic University. Last week, Florida International University canceled trips to Italy, Singapore, Japan and South Korea. 

Mendieta said this is the first time the CDC has given strict guidelines to colleges and universities to cancel study abroad trips. 

When contacted by The Reporter, Esteves and Liza Carbajo, executive director of the Office of International Education, both declined to comment, referring the matter to Mendieta. 

The cancellations will not affect the 42 students currently attending the Salzburg Global Seminar in Austria because the region is not in a hotspot. Miami Dade College said they are not  implementing any additional safety precautions for the students, who are scheduled to return March 6.

There are 24 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Austria as of today, according to the Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection in Austria. 

For more information, contact Gabriela Esteves at (305) 237-3008 or gesteve1@mdc.edu.

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