Gwen Lee
March 22, 2016

March 22, 2016

I applied for my study abroad visa the morning of the Paris attacks. However, of the many concerns I had about studying abroad, terrorist attacks were not one of them. One of the reasons I chose to live in Paris is because it is so similar to New York (my home). Both are located in first world countries and I assumed that the security level was similar. The only difficulties I anticipated were that of pick pocketing, the language barrier, and even a spending problem on my part. I did not think that my biggest worry would be something so completely out of my control: terrorism.

I chose to go through with studying abroad despite the November attacks because for one, security was upped in response to the attacks so it is currently safer here. And two, attacks could happen anywhere and I wasn't about to let fear stop me from living my life.

Since I arrived here in January, there have been multiple attacks around the world. Though every attack deserves attention and action, the most personal to me is today's attack in Brussels because I was just there.

I learned about the attack this morning in French class. Our professor decided to teach us outside of the classroom, in a neighborhood called Saint-Germain-des-Pres. We were having an extra amazing class when one of my classmates got the news alert on his phone. We had been standing where Benjamin Franklin signed the Treaty of Paris when we learned that a bomb went off in the train station and at the airport in Brussels. Our ever-smiling professor was visibly shaken.

It's bizarre knowing that I recently visited Brussels. I am thankful to have had the chance to visit, but it's scary to think that any one of us could have been visiting right now especially since I had been wanting to go back for more chocolate, waffles, and beer. Now, no one studying abroad will go back to Brussels. Our program will probably forbid it. And with Easter break this weekend, everyone is currently rethinking their travel plans around Europe. Traveling is one of the best learning experiences but it has been tainted with the fear of a random attack.

Tonight, the Tour Eiffel is lit up in the colors of the Belgian flag and I know that every Parisian, like our professor, is having a flashback to only a few months ago when the attack was here. We are all devastated by the news. It's ironic that only a week ago, there was a strike in Paris protesting the government's decision to prolong the extra security measures. It is unfortunately necessary.

Despite everything, I feel a sense of security with my host family who watched the news with me during dinner. I don't have to worry during class because the program takes extra security precautions. I go on doing what I did. When my parents' voiced their concerns about me being in Europe, they kept repeating: stay alert. This is all you really can do.

Be safe, 


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Gwen Lee

<p>Salut! Je m&#39;appelle Gwen. I am a sophomore at Babson College and currently about 11% fluent in French. I hope to remedy that while wining and dining in the beautiful city of Paris. I am majoring in Business with a focus in Marketing. Follow along my stories to experience the ups and downs of studying abroad à Paris!</p>

2016 Spring
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Business Administration
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