There is one student from UNCW studying in Belgium, and the faculty learned the student is safe on Tuesday morning.
Kara Pike Inman, the Director of Education Abroad, said UNCW sends almost 1,000 students abroad every year. There are 200 abroad this semester, and most of the students are visiting Europe.
Inman said every student that is abroad is safe and accounted for.
"We are constantly monitoring local news from around the world, we also keep up to date with several different listservs and media sources. Like the travel warning from the department of state, world health organization, things like that,” explained Inman. “But the first thing we do when we wake up in the morning is we turn on the news and see what types of things have happened around the world that may affect our students."
Inman explained there is always an employee who is on-call at all hours of the day in case of emergency.
The staff works to keep in contact with students so they can make sure they are safe.
“We always send them out reminders so they let us know where they are traveling during their free time so that we can monitor where students are should something like this happen," said Inman.
Before going abroad, students are required to go through a safety orientation. During this time, the students are given the UNCW emergency contact information.
The study abroad staff at UNCW also collects emergency contact information from the students, the schools, and the host families.
“We always want to reach out to our students and confirm that they're okay, and see if they need any services, any outreach, any ways we can support them," Inman said. "So that's always our first steps when we find out that something has happened.”
Students used social media to reach out to their friends who were abroad in Europe.
One sophomore said he was in shock when he heard the news. He explained having friends near the attacks made the violence hit closer to home.
"I mean these things have happened on our turf as well, and we forget about that, but a lot of us are too young to know how that actually felt, and when you're our age, you hear these things and they happen so close to you, it's a completely different feeling,” explained Brandon Bales, a UNCW sophomore. “You can feel fear, and you can feel like you're exposed, and I think feeling exposed is mostly what they might be feeling."
Inman thinks the attacks may deter students from studying abroad in the future. She said she wants students to realize that danger is always a possibility and hopes it won’t stop them from enrolling in the program.
One student who plans on studying abroad said she still plans to travel if given the opportunity.
"I don't really want something like this, like [what] people do to other people, to deter me from living my life," explained Erin Cahill, a sophomore who wants to study in Ireland in the fall.
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