The Study Abroad program takes LMC students to Barcelona this month, but safety precautions will be made due to the recent terrorist attacks.
The country of Spain went through hardships Aug. 16 when a group of terrorists caused an explosion in the city of Alcanar. The next day in Barcelona a van — driven by Younes Abouyaaqoub — ran over pedestrians, which ended up killing 14 people and injuring 130 others.
Although these attacks are alarming, students will still be partaking in the study abroad trip.
LMC Professor Jennifer Saito, one of four professors attending, was saddened for all the people whose lives have been affected in Barcelona. She was very satisfied how
LMC President Bob Kratochvil handled the situation for the staff going to the city and that no major changes have been made for the trip.
“Kratochvil almost immediately found a way to contact me to make sure I, and our students, was safe,” said Saito.
She explained that because the district is partnered with the American Institute for Foreign Study, no changes were made because the institute has “excellent protocols in place to track students’ whereabouts and keep them as safe as possible in the event of an emergency”.
A statement was sent to Saito from AIFS Senior Vice President, Alisa Brookes about the precautions that will be made for participants of the trip.
The statement discussed that safety is not guaranteed anywhere but it’s their top priority students are safe. They will continue to take every precaution possible to ensure the wellbeing of the participants and will not cancel any of the programs in Spain.
“Although incidents like this are frightening, they are fortunately still rare and the people in Spain continue to go about their daily business,” said Brookes.
LMC staff and students will be given extensive security advice at the on-site orientation when they arrive in Barcelona, as is standard on all AIFS programs.
Saito is still excited about going to Barcelona as she will teach the Humanities and Philosophy class and will accompany the students on educational activities and field trips. While she is upset about the carnage that happened in Barcelona, it doesn’t change her belief that Study Abroad is an amazing opportunity.
“It’s a beautiful, historically significant city,” said Saito. “Sadly, terrorist threats are now something everyone lives with, no matter where we live or study.”
Students who are about to learn in Barcelona shared their side on how they feel on going in spite of the attacks. LMC student Vanessa Flores was heartbroken by what happened in Barcelona since she’s always wanted to study abroad.
“I immediately became concerned about my upcoming trip to Barcelona.” said Flores. “I am more aware about the dangers that can take place while studying abroad and I’ve been able to inform myself of ways to keep myself safe from tragic events. With the recent attacks, I believe or I hope that there will be more security around Barcelona.”
LMC Student Genaro Mauricio will be going to the city as well and remembers thinking how awful it was that something like that happened to innocent people.
“It really threw me off because I never expected something like that to happen in Spain,” said Mauricio adding that although the attacks are worisome, his feelings toward the trip have not changed.
“I feel that it was the goal of the individuals who attacked Barcelona to make people afraid,” said Mauricio. “I think that if I decided to change how I felt than they would have got what they set out to do.”
No students have changed their mind about going to Barcelona. LMC students and staff going will be departing for the three-month trip Monday, Sept. 11.