Wittenberg Students Abroad React to Recent Terrorist Attacks

While some Wittenberg students studying abroad feel safe in their experiences in spite of recent attacks in Europe, others have admitted to not feeling completely safe, according to Olivia Oldham, ’17; Evan Bernard, ’17; Lauren Elwell, ’17; and Kristen Brady, ’17.

The Paris attack occurred on Nov. 13, 2015. Gunmen and suicide bombers targeted a concert hall, a stadium, restaurants and bars. The attack left 130 people dead and hundreds of people wounded, according to the NBC website.

The Brussels attack occurred on March 22, 2016 at Brussels International airport and a metro station in the city, leaving 30 people dead and dozens wounded, according to the BBC website.
ISIS-inspired terrorist attacks have also occurred in Egypt, Yemen and Turkey, according to the New York Times website.

Bernard, who was studying in Alicante, Spain at the time of the Paris attacks, said that he did not want a fear of terrorist attacks to ruin his study abroad experience.

“When the attacks occurred, I was traveling to Barcelona. I did not find out about the attacks in Paris until the following day, but immediately noticed a heightened police presence in the city,”

Bernard said. “You could not walk 20 feet and not see two officers. I think since Barcelona is such a huge tourist destination that definitely played a role in the heightened security as well.”

Oldham, who is currently studying abroad in Multa, Italy, also said that she feels safe in her experience:

“When the attacks happened, I was traveling around Europe for my spring break. I happened to be in Munich, Germany the day of the attack,” Oldham said. “Besides the shock that everyone was dealing with, everyone seemed to go about their normal day.”

On the other hand, Brady, who is studying in London this semester, admits that she does not feel completely safe, due in part to some experiences that she has had on the subway.

“It’s challenging to feel safe when, every time you hop on the Tube, you’ve learned to instinctively scan every person in the car for anything, or anyone, that could be a threat,” Brady said. “Saying that I feel ‘safe’ in its entirety would be a lie. However, aside from terrorism, London itself feels far safer than Springfield. I’m able to walk to the store at night by myself without hearing gunshots, and I don’t even live in the nicer part of London.”

Brady, Bernard and Oldham also said that there seems to be a heightened amount of security. On the other hand, Elwell, studying abroad in Chile, said that there seems to be less security in South America.

“Chile doesn’t have a big security force, but what I have seen is very minimal compared to the U.S. I’ve actually noticed the opposite, how chill the security is,” Elwell said. “In general, I feel safer in South America than I would feel if I was studying in Europe right now.”

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