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Boston Area College Students Find Study Abroad Plans Derailed By Coronavirus

BOSTON (CBS) – Boston University is holding off on sending students to China as the country tries to control its deadly coronavirus outbreak.

About 20 BU students were set to study abroad in Shanghai when the partnering university was forced to postpone the program by the Chinese government.

"Overall, the disappointment lies in the fact that everybody thought their semester was going to go differently," said Geneve Lau.

Chinese passengers, most wearing masks, arrive to board trains before the annual Spring Festival at a Beijing railway station on January 23, 2020 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

The BU junior planned to intern for a Shanghai communications company, only to return to Boston.

"I was perfectly content with stocking up on face masks and still going and trusting that the situation would've died down by the time I arrived in China," she said.

The deadly virus is spreading across China. The University of Massachusetts Amherst canceled a similar study abroad program out of caution for its students.

Lau told WBZ-TV that students have been frustrated for weeks, waiting to see whether the program would continue.

Some students had been anticipating and planning for this trip for years.

"They really wanted to see these places they've never been to, experience these different things, document these different things. And then to have something out of anybody's control prevent that from happening," Lau said, "was the most upsetting part."

On top of being disappointed, Lau and her classmates have to figure out whether they want to return to BU and re-enroll in classes or take the semester off.

"It's a bad situation, but it's definitely not the worst that could've happened."

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