The US Shouldn't Allow Students To Study Abroad After Brussels

The US Shouldn't Allow Students To Study Abroad After Brussels

Is anywhere safe anymore?
“The Islamic State group has trained at least 400 fighters to target Europe in deadly waves, the AP has learned.”

This was the Associated Press alert that came across my phone the day after the Brussels terrorist attacks.

And in the days after that? Alerts about more terrorists caught in Paris and Brussels that were planning future attacks.

ISIS has made it that going to Europe has now become a risk on your own life. Which is why I think the United States shouldn’t allow students to study abroad after the attacks in Brussels.

Now you can argue that banning students to study abroad is a breach of freedom if we still let go. But college students are America’s future, and the last thing any parent wants to do is bury their own child.

Here are the main reasons why the United States and colleges shouldn’t be allowing students to go abroad.

The obvious one — it’s not safe.

It’s been Paris and Brussels so far with the attacks, but that doesn’t mean the attacks won’t spread to other major cities across Europe. And where do college students go while studying abroad? To all the major cities. Barcelona, Madrid, Florence, Rome, Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam, you name it and American students will be there Snapchatting away. The attacks can happen at any time, any place, and that’s what makes it more dangerous.

Universities can become liable and parents could sue.

If a student wants to travel to Europe on their own and they get hurt or killed during a terrorist attack, the “blame” falls on the student for knowingly walking into potential danger. But if a university is aware of the dangers that people are in while in major European cities, but still has no problem taking students money and sending them abroad, then the “blame” can fall on the university. And the last thing a college wants is to be sued for knowingly allowing students to go abroad to unsafe areas and getting hurt or killed.

If we’ve issued travel warnings in the past we can do travel bans.

The United States has issued warnings to plenty of different places around the world whether it be due to terrorist activity and conflicts or diseases like Ebola and the Zika virus. Yes, there is the issue of restricting freedom but when the AP says that ISIS has hundreds of militants that are planning attacks in Europe, that’s scary. Would you rather be safe in your own country at home or abroad somewhere in a foreign place with the chance of an attack happening? The US has a duty to keep its citizens safe from harm and sometimes that means having to restrict the ability to travel out of the country if it keeps people alive.

To a lot of you, you make think I’m crazy for wanting to put a halt on college kids studying abroad. But I’ve seen college friends who studied in Paris use the Facebook check in during the Paris attacks. I know someone who was in Brussels the day before the attacks occurred there. And I still have plenty of friends who are still traveling about Europe. We aren’t immune to the dangers out in the world, even if we think we are. While college students keep drinking their way across Europe, Europe is getting nervous because no one knows when or where the next attack could be. College is a time of exploration and to make mistakes, but traveling abroad to countries with terrorist attacks isn’t one of them.

Cover Image Credit: NBC News

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As A Muslim American, My Trip To Jerusalem Revealed That Open-Mindedness Bridges Communities

A life changing trip that opened my eyes up to the optimal dynamics in a community.


On Dec. 21, my parents and I flew to Amman, a city in the beautiful country of Jordan, where we took a cab to the main part of Jerusalem. We were told by multiple family friends that it is not the safest to directly fly into Jerusalem because of the religious issues and riots going on. As we entered Jerusalem, I put my hijab on. A hijab is a head covering worn to cover a women's beauty in Islam. As I put my hijab on to pay respect to Mosque Aqsa, I noticed a change in perspective from everyone around me because suddenly, there were eyes from everywhere on me — Muslim and Jewish.

After we paid respect to Mosque Aqsa, we went to the hotel to sleep because we were exhausted from our 14 hour flight. The next morning, we woke up bright and early to begin our day by praying at Mosque Aqsa. I wore traditional American clothes, jeans and a top, because it was often worn in Jerusalem, though I kept a hijab on for prayer.

After praying, I was astonished by the gathering of all the Muslim people in the mosque area. This made me want to see the Wailing Wall and the place of the first church to view how others gather for their god. I knew the Wailing Wall was sacred because it was a prayer and pilgrimage place for Jewish people, while for Christians, Jesus was born inside the first church.

As we exited the mosque community, we found a kind man at the kiosk who gave us pomegranate and mangoes. My dad decided to ask this gentleman directions to the Wailing Wall. The man began screaming at me and my dad. He told us we are not allowed to even want to view the wall of the Jewish people. I responded and explained that we just want another perspective on other religions. The man yelled even louder. He told us that the Jewish people would convert us and that we should not leave the Mosque surroundings. With this, he furiously sat back down and did not give us any directions to the wall that was right behind this mosque. My dad and I were quite confused on what had just happened and the way our question for simple directions were handled.

We decided to walk along the sidewalk until we found someone to help us out. It was a 61-year-old man who seemed to be a Jewish person with his religious hat. He happily helped us out and gave us exact directions for the Wailing Wall, though he did say he was excited new people wanted to convert to his religion.

We followed his directions and successfully reached the Wailing Wall. There were gates at the Wailing Wall that had security checks that allowed people to enter as there were at the mosque. Although, the experience entering the wall and mosque was not the same. As a muslim woman wearing a hijab, I was able to walk through the mosque without anyone questioning me, I was easily able to walk in without questions asked.

At the wall, a security guard first made my family go through metal detectors, checked our passports and asked an immense amount of questions about why we wanted to go see the Wailing Wall if we were Muslim. Finally, after various obstacles and issues, we made it into the Wailing Wall.

As I experienced such obstacles, I thought about how different the community in Jerusalem was from the United States. It doesn't matter what group, each religion in Jerusalem was highly conservative. This is quite different from the United States.

The culture in the United States is significantly diverse, which allows the people here to be open minded. As an everyday routine, Americans interact with people of various religions and cultures that they don't question or change their perspective toward a certain race. Yes, there are always racist citizens who are not comfortable with other religions, but a majority of the United States depicts unity because of how culturally different every person is.

This is not how Jerusalem is seen. Religions are significantly segregated with one another through security check, restaurants, hotels and even streets. Every religion has their streets in Jerusalem and going to the one you are not a part of can result in awkward stares along with rude treatment.

As I had previously booked a hotel before arriving to Jerusalem, we were not aware that the street we booked was on the street of the Jewish people. This wasn't a major issue, but glares and different treatment were conveyed. As my parents and I would eat breakfast in the lounge, we would often get glares for the hijab or clothing we were wearing because it was different from everyone else around us. This was quite disturbing because every day we would go inside the hotel or leave and get glares that clearly depicted that we weren't wanted in this hotel. The hotel workers were indefinitely kind and caring at all times, though the people living there were not.

The experience I had was definitely an eye-opening lesson. It depicted the perspective of others in America versus Jerusalem. The people in Jerusalem are not open-minded, which detaches the various religious groups in the nation. It prevents various religions to connect or be able to create united communities to be able to act as one.

As for the United States, there are different religions and cultures blended together with majority of the people who are open-minded. This allows the union of communities, while also allowing people to connect without the similarity of religion. I'm glad that I was able to have a once in a lifetime experience with my family. Although the segregation in the country was a little uncomfortable, I am glad that I was able to understand how lucky I am to live in an open, happy and united country and that I am also able to learn about the significance of open-mindedness in uniting people and communities.

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