Corona, Please Have Murcia on Me

In the times of COVID-19, many aspects of life have changed, one of them being travel. During college, studying abroad is a goal many students hope to fulfill and while many do, the 2020 spring semester threw those students in for a surprise. After NWU announced they would be cancelling in person classes through the end of the semester, many students abroad found that they were in the same situation, only thousands of miles away from home.

Grady Kershner, a junior at Nebraska Wesleyan University, was studying in Murcia, Spain when he found out the news that his six-month journey abroad was ending after just three months. When he first heard the news, Kershner remembered thinking there was no way he was going to go home early, but then a few weeks later him and his mom talked about his decision and decided that “financially it was not smart for him to stay there.” They had concerns about how healthcare would work in a foreign country, and what could happen if they completely shut down transportation in and out of the countries he would need to go through; coming home was the best option. He remembers the journey back to America being relatively easy. “The airport was completely deserted. The plane I flew ho

me on had only a fifth of the capacity with barely anyone on it.”

There were no lines through customs, but Kershner did run into the issue of flights being cancelled and having to scramble to find a new one. When he arrived back in America, something he noticed was the lack of emphasis on COVID in public places. Kershner took his own precautions and quarantined in a camper in his driveway for two weeks in the event that he could have been positive. While this self-quarantine was happening, his classes thousands of miles away were still happening online. “Classes were still in Spain time, and I was taking them every day from around 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. which translated to about 1:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. our time,” which was one of the most difficult aspects of coming home.

While he was still able to finish out his study abroad semester online, Kershner, like many other students abroad likely felt, was quite disappointed that he was not able to gain more of the experience than he did and be surrounded in a culture that spoke the language he was studying. Nevertheless, he looks back on his time in Spain and is grateful for what he was able to gain from staying there and advocates for future students to go on the journey abroad, hopefully COVID free.