Because of the coronavirus, one of the most fun and memorable trips of my entire study abroad here in Japan is cancelled. Much regret was expressed by my program coordinator, but it still resulted in anger and disappointment from my fellow program-mates.
We had plans to go to Okinawa, an island off the coast of Japan. Part of our program expenses were allocated for trips, so we paid about $4,000 for them. Most of that money went into the two long trips scheduled during spring break: Okinawa and Kansai.
However, now that the trip has been cancelled (it was cancelled just two days before), most of the students from the program are simmering with anger. It was cancelled too suddenly, meaning most students had no time to plan other trips now that their main one has been cancelled.
One of my friends went on a long rant about how my program was being ridiculous, cancelling an entire trip with no evidence that there was a coronavirus case in Okinawa. Her anger was justified, but it seemed a bit harsh, considering the program only cancelled the trip to ensure that students would be safe.
In fact, just a day later (after the day we were supposed to leave for Okinawa), there was a confirmed cased. My friend was quick to withdraw her words, but there was no doubt that she was still incredibly upset. After all, she had paid the program $4,000 for trips like these.
Luckily, the program is going to refund us for the money that we paid for the trips. Unfortunately, they will not do that until the end of the year, so we’re still a few thousand short of what we’re owed. I wish they would have paid us back immediately, so that we could use that money to plan and pay for our own trips this spring break.
The coronavirus is perhaps one of the most unluckiest things to occur during my year abroad. As of today, there are over a hundred cases in Japan. People are panicking and stripping the shelves clean of wipes, masks, and toilet paper. All plans this break are cancelled, and now we’re facing the possibility of being called back home to the States. If this is to happen, I would miss one entire semester of schooling, wasting both time, and money.
Hopefully, the situation will look up, but as of now, the future seems bleak.