5 Georgia College Exchange Students React To The Georgia Tech Shooting, Campus Safety And Police
Start writing a post
Politics

5 Georgia College Exchange Students React To The Georgia Tech Shooting, Campus Safety And Police

For those who come from abroad to study in the U.S., the shooting is a whole another story with entirely different implications altogether.

205
5 Georgia College Exchange Students React To The Georgia Tech Shooting, Campus Safety And Police
WikiMedia

On Sept. 17, Georgia Tech campus police shot Scott Schultz, a suicidal college student armed with a knife. The shooting raised outrage from fellow students, some people protesting against the police while others sided with them. The week or two of outrage has been followed by silence, since school shootings have more or less become a norm in American society. But for those who come from abroad to study in the U.S., the shooting is a whole another story with entirely different implications altogether. I interviewed five exchange students studying at Georgia colleges to understand what they think of the Georgia Tech shooting and college campus safety in the U.S.


1. Tell us a little about yourself.

Mouzen: "I'm a sophomore from Palestine studying biology at Georgia State University (GSU)."

Leen: "I'm a BA major studying at GSU. I'm from Syria and came to the U.S. for family reasons. The hardest part about the move was learning to blend into society and the language barrier. Nothing was easy. I felt like I had no life, because I had to do twice the hard work in school to get good grades. The good thing was that my family was by my side the whole time."

Bahija: "I'm from Germany, and my major at GSU is economics, junior year. I came here because I wanted a different experience and to be confident and independent. My brother studied in U.S. before me, so I was bound to the Georgia area. The hardest part was all the paperwork and visa applications, insurance, etc... The easiest was notification of the process. I was terrified during the process, because there's a chance of being rejected as an applicant, but my family was supportive, even though they were just as nervous."

Houda: "I'm from Damascus, Syria, and I'm a junior studying speech communications at GSU. I chose to study abroad because I have family here. I started at GPC [Perimeter College] because it was closer to home. The easiest part of coming here was booking the tickets, because they're just a click away, but the hardest part was change in routine — trying to find a balance between the norms I've been taught and the new ones here."

Firdous: "I'm from Sudan and attend Agnes Scott as a sophomore going into nursing. My father is American, and we have family here, so I decided to study in the U.S. because the education is stronger here than in Sudan. I chose my college based on location, diversity, reputation and student reviews. The application process and essay writing was most difficult, and there wasn't exactly and easy part because I was leaving my family to study here. But my family was really happy I could study here, and they wanted me to get a good education so my siblings could follow my path."

2. What would you hear about America in the news from your homeland? Any mention of gun violence?

Leen: "I used to live in the U.S. when I was younger, so I don't remember much about Syrian news."

Bahija: "We would hear about the election, the shootings, celebrity news and we even discussed American gun laws in high school. Yes, and I felt unsafe. It scares me, and I would like for the states to have stricter gun control and not let just anyone buy a gun. On campus though, I feel safe because people are me seem like normal college students and also because of the security cameras."

Houda: "Most people are split between hating America and blaming it for everything while others adore it and love every single thing that is related to it. The news [in Syria] usually covered America's interference with Middle East affairs and how America only addresses the conflict between Israel and Palestine when Israeli soldiers are hurt, but it does not utter a word when Palestinian families and kids are killed. I moved to U.S. when I was still a high school sophomore, so American news wasn't really my thing back then. I had enough with what was going on in my country. Either way, campus violence was not something I heard of at the time."

Firdous: "There isn't much about U.S. in Sudanese news, but a majority of the people in Sudan dream to come to the U.S. We might know the crime rate is higher in the U.S. than in Sudan, but no one mentioned campus violence."

3. How do you feel about guns?

Mouzen: "I'm against them. Guns are allowed in my homeland, too, but I'm still against them overall."

Leen: "I don't think guns should be allowed in schools, because it's a place a person can study and hang out with friends, not a battle or war zone!"

Houda: "I'm not a big fan of them. I don't mind them when we're in a shooting range, and it's all fun and games. But the combination of guns and daily life terrifies me. I'm not either for or against gun rights. I'm more towards stricter rules for gun permits."

Firdous: "I think it's a bad idea to have a gun in general, but when everyone is carrying a gun, it becomes a necessity."

4. How safe do you feel on your college campus?

Leen: "I feel safe with the cops on GSU campus. We are very good friends."

Houda: "I feel normal. I'm usually only on campus when I have class, so my head is pretty occupied with what's going on in the lecture [than] to think about the possibility of something going sideways."

Firdous: "I feel very safe."

5. Before coming to the U.S., did you know that guns are permitted on some college campuses, including all Georgia campuses?

Leen: "No one told me guns are allowed on campus. After guns were allowed, I've had second thoughts about my campus safety.If I had known, I would have considered another option [besides studying in U.S.]."

Bahija: "I didn't know that. It's a learning environment, so why... Knowing this would have influenced my decision if a lot if I had heard about it before."

Houda: "No, I did not. And this year, apparently, students in my university can have their guns with them on campus, which is terrifying. Even though I know many professors tried to take the humor route on this matter, you could clearly see it was dry humor. However, I don't think knowing about this beforehand would have changed my decision to come study here."

Firdous: "I didn't know that until now. I think I would still come to study, because that's what was meant to happen."

6. Do you think guns should be allowed on campus? Why or why not?

Mouzen: "I'm 100 percent against guns on campus, and I do agree with gun control because no one has the right to put a gun in someone's face.

Bahija: "No! We have police officers all around, and if anything happens, they should handle it. I don't think some people understand that you can seriously skill someone with a gun because of self-protection, which is sometimes not justified, because you could have pepper spray or something instead."

Houda: "I don't think so, no. College students are very emotional people, and the things we go through on a daily basis are too much, sometimes. I don't trust everyone to know how to hold their frustration in when the dark times hit."

Firdous: "I don't think they should be allowed. A college campus should be a safe haven for everyone, and a college student may make wrong decisions, especially if stressed."

7. How did you feel about the Georgia Tech shooting?

Mouzen: "It was not right. No one should have the right to shoot anyone, no matter the gender."

Leen: "I think it was horrible. They shouldn't have done that [shot Schultz] and should've talked the student out of the situation."

Bahija: "I was sad, because I heard the student was mentally sick or something, and wondering why did [Schultz] have to die... I think the police should be sufficiently trained to handle someone with a knife without killing them."

Houda: "I have very mixed feelings about the matter. I'm not that informed, but I heard the student was suicidal and had already written a couple suicide notes, which, if that's the truth, then who is to say the police were wrong about shooting him. Who is to say he wouldn't have hurt someone else? Yes, it's tragic how the events played out, but the media played a huge role in playing with our emotions when the news was first published, and everyone was quick to say 'the police shot an LGBT student,' and almost everyone stopped there, which is not really fair for anyone."

Firdous: "It's very sad what happened, and I'm angry because the student just had a knife and the officer should have handled the situation differently, like shooting the student's leg or taken the knife. I think authorities need to step and address the issue with police shootings."

8. How do you feel about the American police? What about your campus cops?

Mouzen: "I have no problem with cops on campus. They're all fine and sweet to me, and I moved here like six years ago and didn't have any difficulty with cops."

Leen: "I feel sometimes they do what is easiest for them, without thinking of the victim's family and loved ones. However, not all cops are that way."

Bahija: "Sometimes, they're too rough and some actions are questionable, like with the shooting."

Houda: "I am indifferent about them. I'd like to think that if I ever need their help, they will be there to help and protect me. Every group of people has good and bad, so I don't think the good should be overlooked because we only hear about the bad. My campus cops are nice and friendly, and they greet me sometimes when I walk by. They have also been helpful when I'm lost or have a question."

Firdous: "The more I see police shooting civilians, the more I feel frightened by their presence and doubt their mission is to protect people. They've become more of a threat than safety provider."

9. Have you ever feared the police? If so, why? Do you ever fear they will shoot you?

Houda: "Every time I see a cop car, my heart sinks a little. I got a speeding ticket almost two years ago, and since then, I get scared seeing their flashing lights. I don't really fear cops shooting me, but sometimes I do, if the situation seems sketchy. But I don't go out much nowadays, so my only encounter with cops are when they drive past me. Back in Syria, I never thought about a cop shooting me."

Firdous: "I have always been cautious near cops, and now I'm more conscious of their presence and feel the urge to get away from them."

10. Do you feel you will continue to live in American after completing your study abroad?

Leen: "Yes, I will."

Bahija: "I would like to go home. I never felt this way in my home country because we never heard of news about shootings and campus gun control like in the West!"

Houda: "I honestly don't know... I tell myself that I want to move back, but I'm also scared that by the time I move, I will have a whole new adjustment to go through, so it may be easier to just stay here. But eventually, yes, I want to move back."

Firdous: "I don't know.. It's hard to tell."

11. Is there anything you would like people to understand or know?

Leen: "Just follow the rules, and if things don't work out, try solving the problem in a lawful way."

Bahija: "We are all humans and have the right to live a life of dignity."

Houda: "Don't take the media for granted. They care about money more than delivering the whole truth. There is always good in the world, even if we don't see it that often.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
I'm Tired Of Being Told My Standards Are Too High By People Whose Standards Are Too Low

There is no question that our generation has put a whole new spin on the dating scene.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics

What If The U.N. Actually United The Nations?

This is me taking a break from being cynical and imagining how the world could be one day.

2864
Unsplash

By now, people are probably sick of hearing me talk about myself, so I’m changing it up this week. In keeping with the subject of my J-Term class, I’m asking myself a political what-if question. What if we could create a sovereign global government firmly grounded in justice that could actually adjudicate Earth’s many disparate nation-states into one unified world government?

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

100 Things I'd Rather Do Than Study

Procrastination Nation, unite.

3697
Panda Whale
Here are 100 things I'd rather to than study. I know the semester just started, but

    1. Watch a movie
    2. Take a nap
    3. Have a dance party
    4. Eat ice cream
    5. Bake a cake
    6. Cry just a little bit
    7. Knit a blanket
    8. Learn to ride a bike
    9. Build a crib
    10. Watch a hockey game
    11. Watch any game
    12. Play with my hair
    13. Dye my hair
    14. Go grocery shopping
    15. Learn to crochet
    16. Do 50 jumping jacks
    17. Drive cross country
    18. Take a bubble bath
    19. Squeeze lemons for lemonade
    20. Sell the lemonade
    21. Make heart-shaped ice cubes
    22. Moisturize my knees
    23. Paint my nails
    24. Find the cure for cancer
    25. Run a marathon
    26. Just kidding, run down the hall
    27. Squat my bodyweight
    28. Eat my bodyweight in French fries
    29. Hibernate until Christmas
    30. Cuddle my body pillow (unless you have a boo)
    31. Think about all the work I’m not doing
    32. Wash my bed sheets
    33. Vacuum my apartment
    34. Play mini golf
    35. Go swimming
    36. Tan in this Texas heat
    37. Sing like I’m about to win American Idol
    38. Blow up balloons
    39. Pop the balloons
    40. Make lists
    41. Write an Odyssey article
    42. Pet a puppy
    43. Adopt a puppy
    44. Pay my rent
    45. Order a pizza
    46. Start a garden
    47. Cook a turkey
    48. Find new music
    49. Clean my waffle iron
    50. Learn to make jam
    51. Jam to music
    52. Play scrabble
    53. Volunteer anywhere
    54. Celebrate a birthday
    55. Watch a makeup tutorial I’ll never use
    56. Go through old pictures on my phone
    57. Make a playlist
    58. Take a shower
    59. Clean my room
    60. Curl my hair
    61. Climb a rock wall
    62. Get a massage
    63. Play with Snapchat filters
    64. Roast a chicken
    65. Go fishing
    66. Chug some Snapple
    67. Ride in a cart around Walmart
    68. Count the days until the semester is over
    69. Overthink about my future
    70. Think of my future baby’s names
    71. Pin everything on Pinterest
    72. Text anybody
    73. Pray about life
    74. Watch a sunset
    75. Watch a sunrise
    76. Have a picnic
    77. Read a book (that’s not for school)
    78. Go to a bakery
    79. Snuggle a bunny
    80. Clean my apartment
    81. Wash my dishes
    82. Rearrange my furniture
    83. Physically run away from my problems
    84. Make some meatballs
    85. Learn to make bread
    86. Google myself
    87. Ride a Ferris wheel
    88. Get stuck on a Ferris wheel (that way, it’s not my fault I’m not studying)
    89. Wash my car
    90. Get on a plane to Neverland
    91. Find Narnia in my closet
    92. Jump on a trampoline
    93. Learn to ice skate
    94. Go rollerblading
    95. Ride a rollercoaster
    96. Carve a pumpkin
    97. Restore water in a third world country
    98. FaceTime my family
    99. Hug my mom
    100. Tell my friends I love them
    Featured

    The Basics Of The United Nations

    As the General Assembly convenes, here is the United Nations 101

    2799
    WikiMedia

    For an organization that literally unites the nations, it amazes me how little is taught about the United Nations in schools, or at least where I went to school. It wasn't until I went to college and got a higher education that I learned the basics of the United Nations. I believe that every American should know at least the basics of what the United Nations does, especially since our country is one of the 5 permanent members. So here are the main "organs" of the United Nations.

    Keep Reading... Show less
    Student Life

    Wine Wednesdays!

    How to get through the best Hump Day get together.

    4544

    What would Wine Wednesdays be without wine? Grab a bottle of red and a bottle of white so that you have some variety. If you feel like splurging, get a bottle of Rosé too.

    Keep Reading... Show less

    Subscribe to Our Newsletter

    Facebook Comments