WMU student stuck in China amid coronavirus fears


KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — A Western Michigan University student cannot leave a small village in China because of coronavirus.

Dylan Tulett is originally from Grand Rapids and has been studying in the country for a year and a half.

He was on break from Beijing Language and Culture University, where he was learning Mandarin, when travel restrictions were put in place.

“I have a two-month break period, so January through February and then school starts Feb. 24, but they haven’t given me a start date or anything,” Tulett said.

The WMU senior was visiting a village in southern China’s Guizhou province but roadblocks put in place to keep the virus from spreading mean he is not yet able to leave.

“The plan actually was to have my parents come visit me in Beijing,” Tulett said. “Once we heard about the virus, we’re like OK maybe we can go to Thailand and travel there for a little bit. But then I got stuck here and so that’s not even an option now.”

According to Tulett, the village of 200 has not had any infected residents. Doctors came through the village to check temperatures and ask about symptoms.

“It looks kind of drastic but I’m not panicking at all,” Tulett said.

He is trying to keep busy by studying the language and learning village traditions.  

Western Michigan University recently established a new policy to not send students to China while the outbreak remains a concern but Tulett was already in the country.

WMU confirms it has a student studying in China, but a spokesperson says the university cannot provide more information because of privacy laws.

“My plan now is to wait a bit,” Tulett said.

He says he is in close contact with his study abroad adviser in Michigan as he figures out what to do next and whether he will be able to return to the university in Beijing.

“If my school doesn’t get back to me by late February then I’m going to start thinking about heading back,” Tulett said.

Tulett has not yet contacted the U.S. Embassy regarding his situation and is hopeful he will be able to complete his Mandarin studies in Beijing.

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