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ISIS Attacks Not Discouraging Students From Studying Abroad

Though terror attacks in Paris and Brussels have made huge headlines and placed fear in many American minds, no University of Kansas study abroad students have come home early or cancelled future trips.

“We did not have any students returning home from study in Europe this year,” said KU Study Abroad Director Angela Perryman.

In this academic year, there has been about 1,200 KU students studying in 63 countries. Now, there are about 600 KU students studying in a foreign country.

While the events in Europe haven’t caused any current students to end their trip early and come home, they have acknowledged the affairs and reevaluated decisions based upon them.  

Charlie King, a KU student studying in Scotland, rethought plans he and his girlfriend had to go to Brussels, France for the holidays. Coincidentally, that turned out to be the site of an ISIS airport bombing attack that killed 32 people.

“It’s certainly a different feeling when the attacks are only a country away rather than an entire ocean,” King said.

But King said the fear of danger isn’t worth compromising the larger and more rewarding decision to study abroad.

“I would give more thought as to where to go, but in reality everywhere is a potential target,” King said. “No way to know where it will happen next.”

As for Jayhawks looking into studying abroad in the near future, the same thoughts seem to be echoed.

“I would never let something like that prevent me from doing something special,” Garret Blain, a junior from Springfield, Mo., said.

Perryman said the Study Abroad office is always monitoring information related to the security of program destinations. If a situation warranted it, program modifications or cancellations would occur.

So far, the only questions regarding student safety in wake of the attacks has come from parents, but those have been very limited.

Leslie Hazlet, program coordinator of KU’s partner study abroad program CIMBA, said she has received no outright requests from parents to bring home their son or daughter because of fear they are in danger.

Reflecting on the past, Hazlet said students courage toward terrorism isn’t something new, as she doesn’t remember an unusual upsurge of students backing out after Sept. 11 attacks either.