A group of ASU students were in Paris during terror bombings in Brussels. (Source: WALB)
Nneka Nora Osakwe
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -
Europe is a popular destination for American students, but recent terror attacks in Belgium have raised jitters about students studying abroad in the region.
Albany State University didn't have students in Brussels at the time of the attacks, but they did have a group of students a few hours away studying in Paris for a spring break trip.
Those students jumped at the opportunity to see the City of Lights, and didn't let November's terrorist attacks in Paris affect their decision.
"I was just ready to go to Paris because I knew that maybe I would have never been able to go out of the country," said student Mallory Ingram.
Just days after they arrived in the city, Europe was hit again in Brussels. The group decided to continue their trip without any worry.
"It could happen at ASU, it could have happened you know at the airport here, or back at home," said student Arymis Barnes.
The trip was part of their class curriculum. Professor Matthew Stanley traveled to Paris with the students as their guide and teacher. He says thousands of Americans travel to Europe every year, but the chances of being killed in a terror attack overseas are slim.
"While these get a lot of news coverage, a disproportionate amount of news coverage perhaps, It's important to keep them in perspective," said Stanley.
Regardless of recent events, safety is always a top priority for the program. Study abroad directors say the students go through detailed orientations that stress the importance of safety while overseas.
They also don't send students to any countries with travel warnings issued by the U.S. Department of State.
"We are confident that they are well protected," said Director of Global Programs Nneka Nora Osakwe.
The group to Paris was originally larger, but was cut in half after students and parents expressed concerns about the recent Paris attacks. Study abroad coordinator Danielle Albritton says it's important to keep an open mind.
"I don't think we should let the terrorists win by causing people to be so fearful of traveling abroad," she said.
Students maintain constant contact with the study abroad office while overseas, and they were quickly accounted for after news of the Brussels attacks spread.