Study abroad policies unaffected by world attacks

Mikaela Cannizzo

No major changes to the study abroad department are being recommended at this time in light of attacks executed by the Islamic State in Paris on Nov. 13, according to Jess Miller, UT international risk analyst.

Miller said the department will reinforce precautions with its students abroad, such as avoiding protests, reporting suspicious activity and keeping travel registration current.

“While the University is shocked and saddened by the horrendous acts of violence that occurred in Paris, we choose to respond with hope rather than fear,” Miller said. “We do not see any reason to suspect the threats in France pose any greater risk to our travelers than those present anywhere in the world, to include here at home.”

Miller said that, while international travel is an enriching experience and high priority for UT, ensuring the safety of students, faculty and staff is paramount. In the event of an emergency situation abroad, the University’s International Crisis Advisory Team provides recommendations concerning evacuations if needed.

As coordinated terrorist attacks continue to occur throughout the world, Miller said increased security measures, both prior to departure and during travel, will possibly be implemented in the future. Miller said potential safety advancements are uncertain at this time because of the evolving situation, which includes recent attacks in Beirut and Mali.

During an on-campus conference about terrorism Saturday, Robert Chesney, associate dean for academic affairs at Texas Law, said he believes these incidents are not novel 2015 developments.

“It could be like this every day, and it’s been like this for a long time,” Chesney said. “This is a situation that’s been unfolding for a very long time, including its modern manifestation as terrorism.”

Miller said she does not think these attacks will discourage students from studying abroad and said she believes students will be more interested in being immersed in a new culture through the power of global connection through tragic events.

Government sophomore Mariadela Villegase said she plans to study abroad in Paris next year. She said while news of the attacks initially frightened her, her decision to live in Paris for a semester was not altered by these events.

“I don’t really feel that scared about it,” Villegas said. “If something were to happen, it could happen anywhere, and the U.S. is also a target for terrorist groups. Essentially, I’m in the same level of danger here that I would be over there.”