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UM study abroad student speaks out about COVID-19

Posted at 3:20 PM, Mar 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-20 17:20:26-04

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has upended the school year for most college students whether they are studying right here or overseas.

Reporter Katie Miller spoke to a University of Montana student who had to cut her semester abroad short.

“I think that right now in the United States, people are not as concerned about this as they should be,” said UM Media Arts and Spanish student Haylie Peacock.

She planned to spend this semester studying abroad in Spain, "it very quickly went from everybody being out to it being a total ghost town,” said Peacock.

Peacock arrived in Spain in January. COVID-19 arrived in March. Shortly after, the city of Granada was placed on a total lockdown.

“You weren’t allowed to leave your apartments or houses, and if you did it was at the risk of getting arrested or getting a 500 euro fine,” said Peacock.

UM officials told Peacock on March 13 to get back to the United States as soon as possible, "It felt like I got punched in the stomach, because I didn’t want to leave."

Peacock says she wasn’t worried about getting sick. She was worried about getting home.

“No one knew if the buses were running, taxi drivers weren’t answering phone calls. My mom was on hold with the airline for hours and hours trying to find a flight back,” said Peacock.

She was able to book a flight back to the U.S., and then on Tuesday night took a train from Seattle to Montana.

UM is spending the rest of the semester doing classes online , but Peacock is still waiting to hear directions from her college in Spain.

Peacock will quarantine in Missoula for 14 days and then plans to finish the rest of the semester from home in the Flathead Valley.