Study abroad students maintain plans for summer travel despite recent terror attack

After the recent terror attack in Brussels, Tech study abroad students remain positive about traveling and say they won’t let this situation discourage them.

“As upsetting as these attacks have been, they have not yet deterred my want to travel to Europe. It is an experience that I don't want to miss out on,” said foreign language major Rad Cuebas.

Cuebas is one of 50 Tech students planning to study abroad this summer.

All Tech students currently studying abroad were safe and accounted for during the attacks that affected the Brussels International Airport and the city subway March 21, according to Amy Miller, Tech’s study abroad coordinator.

Whitney Carr, graduate curriculum and instruction and four-time study abroad student, said that she doesn’t want to give in to the terrorist attacks.

“I think the point of these attacks is to make people afraid to travel and to spread fear. I think we need to move on with our lives. I think it’s smart to be aware of potential attacks and safety precautions. I would definitely go back, I’ve never been that person who is afraid to travel because of potential attacks,” said Carr.

Carr maintains that as long as students are diligent and aware, there is no reason they shouldn’t be perfectly safe.

“I think, overall, Europe is really safe. In bigger cities, no matter where you are, even if you’re in the U.S., there’s more potential to be robbed. You just have to be more aware of your surroundings, especially girls,” said Carr.

One of the main concerns Tech has is student safety, especially for students out of the country. Miller says that students are briefed on safety procedures from day one.

“The more you plan ahead, the more you’ll be prepared when something actually does happen,” said Miller.

Each student is required to have a personal emergency action plan in place before they leave the country. This plan makes sure the student knows where to go, what their surroundings are, and their emergency contact information.

The students are provided with safety checklists and must register for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. This program provides students and parents with travel alerts and safety tips and also informs the corresponding embassy or consulate that students are in the country.

Carr said that Tech tries to prepare the students as best they can, but “there are just some situations that you can’t be prepared for. You just have to react. Just keep yourself grounded and aware.”

Currently, Tech has nine students studying abroad, five of whom are in Europe. The program’s numbers have not suffered because of these attacks. According to Miller, 50 students are planning to study abroad in the summer and 17 in the fall, numbers that are average, if not above average, for the university.

Carr says that she doesn’t want these attacks to dissuade students from experiencing the study abroad program.

“I’m afraid that these attacks will cause hate and fear to spread, and that’s something we should strive not to do,” said Carr. “I just hope that it doesn’t discourage students from going abroad. You never know when something like that is going to happen, it could happen here, you just never know. I just hope that students still want to travel, regardless of these situations.”