UNH student sent home from Italy speaks from quarantine

BOSTON — Ally Scimone is a junior at the University of New Hampshire studying in Italy.

The 20-year-old spoke with Boston 25 via Facetime on Tuesday, describing how her life has changed amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Scimone said when they heard about the first confirmed case of coronavirus in Italy, it was chaos and pandemonium.

She said many students were left feeling helpless, not knowing what to do next.

“We’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, what’s going to happen? Is it going to get really bad here? Is it going to spread fast?’ kind of thing,” she said.

Scimone is now required to be quarantined at home.

She got back Sunday night from studying abroad in Florence, Italy.

Scimone said her fellow students were nervous because of the coronavirus.

“A lot of people were scared, some people went home on their own without being withdrawn from the program, because of fear,” Scimone said.

The 20-year-old is part of the Academic Programs International, known as API.

API officials sent out a letter to students telling them "API has continued to receive notifications throughout the night from concerned students in Italy and their families in response to our decision to temporarily suspend all Spring 2020 API programs in Italy.

“I’m sad because no one could see this coming, you never hear about people’s abroad experiences getting cut short,” she said.

In Italy, one infectious disease doctor said the coronavirus hit like a tsunami. As of Tuesday evening, in Italy more than 2,200 people tested positive, and 79 people had died.

In a panic, Scimone said, they went to stock up.

“At the grocery stores, a lot of the nonperishables were gone,” Scimone said. “No one really knew if it was going to escalate more, were stores going to shut down?”

Scimone said she is feeling fine. The semester abroad was supposed to end in mid-May. She is now trying to figure out how to get her money back for the trips that were booked throughout Europe.