Thursday, January 14, 2016

Recent terrorist attacks have little impact on U.S. study abroad

via LJB by email

U.S. student interest and enrollment in study abroad programs has not waned in spite of the recent terrorist attacks abroad, the Boston Globe reports.
The “students generally accept that security risks don’t necessarily increase beyond the U.S. borders,” the Boston Globe notes, adding that violent acts have occurred within U.S. borders for decades:
“… colleges and students say safety concerns are everywhere, noting the mass shootings this year in San Bernardino, California; Roseburg, Oregon; and Charleston, South Carolina, among others. The odds of being involved in a terrorist attack are extremely remote, they add, and bombings and mass shootings have been a reality for decades.”
Jennifer Thomas-Starck, director of international studies at Wellesley College, where nearly half of all students spend time abroad, emphasizes that the current climate only increases the relevance of study abroad programs:
“We think that it’s more important than ever that students have an international experience.”
In fact, Wellesley noticed an increase in study abroad applications even though they were due just weeks after the Paris attacks. Dr. Allan Goodman, president of the Institute of International Education (IIE), explains that many students he interacts with echo similar sentiments:
“Many tell me, ‘We need to do this more than ever’… They don’t want the terrorists to win.”
The Boston Globe notes that colleges and universities already have security protocols in place for study abroad programs. Many college officials have further “bolstered emergency protocols for study abroad programs and hold orientations to prepare students for problems they may encounter.” Goodman advocates that as an additional safety measure U.S. students register with the U.S. embassy in their host country to receive security warnings and other emergency information.
The safety concerns of U.S. students and their families are not unique but are prevalent in international students coming to the U.S. for their studies, too, the Boston Globe remarks:
“Allan Goodman… said students from other countries increasingly ask him whether it is safe to study in the United States, putting the fears of American families into perspective. ‘Terrorism fears are on everyone’s mind, but it’s not deterring people’ from studying abroad, Goodman said.”
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