One week later: students reflect on London attack

Photo courtesy of Alli Strong.

Story by Abby Siegel, News Editor

Many students mourn for London after the recent terrorist attack and reflect on their time studying abroad in England.

The recent 82-second attack occurred March 22 on the Westminster Bridge and left five dead and more than 50 injured, representing 10 nations. This was the deadliest attack in London since 2005.

Khalid Masood, the attacker, drove a vehicle into pedestrians and fatally stabbed a police officer.

Robyn Pizzo, senior education abroad adviser, said Murray State didn’t have any students in the city during the attack, despite London being a common education abroad destination.

Since 2010, Pizzo said 314 Murray State students, faculty and staff have traveled to London for education abroad purposes.

“I think events such as these are having an impact on students deciding to participate and have many of their families worried as well,” Pizzo said. “I don’t think studying abroad is inherently more dangerous than studying on campus.”

To make sure students are safe, Pizzo said everyone who studies abroad is equipped with a detailed crisis response plan, 24-hour emergency phone numbers, fully comprehensive health and emergency insurance and connection with the U.S. consulate.

“The health and safety of our students abroad is always at the forefront of our program planning and pre-departure orientations,” Pizzo said.

Katie Schoenborn, sophomore from St. Louis, is currently spending a semester abroad in the Experience Scotland Program and is an advocate for international travel.

“You have to be aware that this can happen anywhere, but you can’t let these attacks stop you from seeing the world,” Schoenborn said.

She was in London less than a month ago on a weekend excursion, taking advantage of the cheap bus ticket from Edinburgh to London.

Now in Scotland, she said the city feels the affects of the attack.

“I was at Scottish Parliament the day before the attack, and since there is big debate in Scotland on having an independence referendum and breaking away from the U.K., it has been very heated in Scottish government,” Schoenborn said. “They canceled debates in Scotland for the rest of the week due to the attack and are also on high alert.”

Caitlin Starr, junior from Hopkinsville, Kentucky, went on the Haunted Theater program to London and Dublin for Winter Break and said she is deeply saddened for the city she said she loves.

“This recent event truly pains me,” Starr said.  “To see such a wonderful city and innocent people under attack is devastating to say the least.”

She said she is in awe of the history and architecture of the country, and she would travel back to London in a heartbeat, even despite the recent terrorist attack.

“There are going to be bad people everywhere, and tragic events are unfortunately going to happen,” Starr said. “However, we can’t let that stop us from enjoying and experiencing things in life.”