I won’t deny that I am afraid—that the Barcelona game I went to last week didn’t make me nervous, or the increased security in London airport didn’t make me uneasy. But I will not say that I am afraid, I will not let the events in Paris change my study abroad experience. You see I was in Paris the weekend before the terrorist attacks. Many of my friends were there when the tragic events occurred, and even I, who I was miles away in Dublin, still received an outpour of messages and support from people back in the states making sure I was safe and sound.
There are some people who will admit to being afraid. Some of my friends have already left their study abroad programs in Paris and Rome weeks before the actual end date. I have relatives who check up on me via Facebook, and a Facebook newsfeed full of the tricolor flag and links to news updates. My parents are worried about the travel alert that has been issued, but why should I let something like this impact my study abroad experience? My decision to stay in Barcelona for the remainder of the semester and continue travelling says a lot about the sentiments towards the issue of safety in Europe. If you want to cry/smile/understand why I am not afraid give this a look.
I too will continue my study abroad experience with happiness and freedom because I feel safe. When thinking about my safety I realized how thankful I should be for the safety network Vanderbilt provides. From blue lights all over campus, to Vandy Vans that run 5PM to 5AM, to AlertVU emails and texts—even abroad, I get alerts when there is any issue on campus. Being in a city, people often worry about the safety of Vanderbilt’s campus but I have always felt safe. As students we are lucky that we can focus on our college experience, because our safety is not something we have to think about.