We Cannot Let Fear Stop Us
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Politics and Activism

We Cannot Let Fear Stop Us

Studying abroad is worth the risk

We Cannot Let Fear Stop Us
Katelyn Eisenmann

A year from now, I'm supposed to be getting on a plane to study abroad for a year in France, which is an amazing opportunity that I can't believe I get to partake in. However, due to the unrest we've seen in France over the past year or so, my loved ones are starting to fear for my safety while I'm abroad.

"I don't think you should be going, it's too dangerous."

"Aren't you scared to go to France?"

"I really don't like the idea of you being over there at a time like this."

This is what I've been hearing for months now, and it's a little disheartening. France has dealt with a lot of tragedy recently, without a doubt. The terrorist attacks are not to be taken lightly, and the hostility between France and their Muslim population is a constant concern. But I personally feel that to miss out on an opportunity like this for fear that I might end up in the wrong place at the wrong time would be ridiculous. Am I scared to live abroad for a year in a foreign country? Of course I am. I absolutely am terrified to try to make my way in a country that isn't my own, but I'm not scared for the reasons you may think.

I am not afraid of being caught in a bombing. I am not afraid that I will be held at gunpoint for my beliefs. I am not afraid that I will be the target of a pointed attack meant to instill fear in the lives of others. I am afraid of making a million mistakes when trying to converse in a language that I wasn't born into. I am afraid of getting lost on the metro and being late to my first class. I am afraid of homesickness, or loneliness, but I am not afraid of terrorism.

It's not that I don't realize that terrorism is a valid concern or even a daily concern for some of the world. It's that I have decided that to be afraid of terrorism is paralyzing, and will keep me from living out this dream I've had my whole life of studying abroad. Anyplace can be the wrong place at the wrong time. Terror knows no boundaries, borders or limits. There is something to be afraid of anywhere you go- whether it be terrorism, or natural disasters, or high crime rates, or even just a lot of flying bugs. We cannot let the fear of terror keep us from living our lives, we cannot let terror win. I recognize my privilege in having never dealt first-hand with true tragedy, and I realize the idea of forgetting fears of terrorism might sound naïve, but I truly believe that letting myself be stopped by the fear of terrorism only adds to the problem.

There is so much hate in the world today, so much tragedy, that we are beginning to forget how beautiful the world truly is. Perhaps instead of staying in our own culture bubbles, fearful and ignorant of the other humans we share a planet with, we should roam the corners of the Earth and discover the magic of another culture. Perhaps we'd all feel a little safer if we understood each other more. So I'm not going to let fear stop me from seeing the world. In a year, I'll be on that plane to France, and I will be fearless.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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