For more than two decades, Meredith College has offered study abroad programs based in Sansepolocro, Italy. One of the reasons these programs are so successful is the work of Sara Andreini, associate director of Meredith in Italy, who works to make each Meredith student’s experience a special one.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has changed daily life for people around the world, one of the places most affected to date is Italy. Meredith study abroad programs, including those in Italy, had to be canceled because of the coronavirus public health concerns.
Many in the Meredith College community have asked how Andreini and her family are doing.
“We are at home in Sansepolcro. I'm working remotely, my kids are attending online classes, and I'm keeping busy planning future lessons for when my Meredith students will be able to study abroad in Sansepolcro again,” Andreini shared on March 26.
For the past two weeks, all regions of Italy have been on lockdown.
“We can't go out except for grocery shopping or work, we avoid any contact with grandparents, relatives and friends and we keep in contact through social media,” said Andreini. “It's hard for us as Italians because we are so used to seeing each other on a daily basis, to have Sunday lunch all together as a family, to have a cappuccino in the morning chatting at the cafe' in the main piazza, to take a walk on the main street, to go to Church on Sunday morning and see friends.”
Though life has changed temporarily, Andreini said her community, which has welcomed hundreds of Meredith students over the past 20 years, is staying strong.
“We are doing our best and we are waiting for better times to come and finally go outside again, walk in the streets, drink a cappuccino in the morning, have an aperitivo in the piazza while sitting with friends,” she said.
One thing Andreini is looking forward to most is exploring her town again with her Meredith students.
“In this time I'm grateful for Meredith College: for all the students that have been here, for all the colleagues that have become friends and for all the support that you are giving to our community,” she said. “Thank you because we feel part of this wonderful community!”
Photo: Sara Andreini with her children in Sansepolcro