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viewpoint

Connection is essential

| Tuesday, January 19, 2016

I just spent what I consider to be possibly the best three months of my life in Rome. I was so blessed to travel with 17 other fantastic ladies through Saint Mary’s and do what used to be, for me, the unthinkable — studying abroad.

Now I could ramble on and on about how incredible studying abroad was and try to advertise that you should do the same and blah blah blah, but that isn’t what I want to tell you about. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely do recommend looking into it. However, I would instead like to talk about the effect of studying abroad and traveling has had on my life in hopes of making you aware of the reality of our world today.

While abroad, my friends and I travelled throughout Europe to places such as Spain, France, Germany, Ireland and England, in that order. Traveling to all of these different places really put the world into perspective for me, especially after traveling to Paris.

Yes, 13 girls in the Saint Mary’s program, including myself, were in Paris on Nov. 13 during the time of the terrorist attacks.

I never used to be the type of person who followed world news closely. I would hear about major events and maybe watch the news for more info, but other than that, I was utterly disconnected. Having experienced the effect the attacks had on not only Paris, but all of Europe, I have recently changed my ways.

After walking down barren streets, hearing dozens upon dozens of sirens, watching speeding emergency vehicles going by, seeing the distress in peoples’ eyes, experiencing the fear and worry and asking ourselves, “When it was going to be over?”, I saw the world in a new light.

Paris, was without any doubt in my mind, one of the most terrifying days of my life. No, we were not too close to any of the attack sites, but the attack didn’t just affect the sites, it affected the entire city, country, surrounding countries and the world.

Yes, the terror had a great effect on me, but the aftermath was even more powerful. We got to witness the residents of a city unite to stand up against the unjust attack and show they were not going to live in fear. I left the city in complete awe.

The reason I never followed world news before was not because I thought it was uninteresting, it was because all I ever saw were horrible things. I now realize that staying connected is essential.

Sure, there are people who want to cause havoc and fear, but we, as a human race, must stand by and support one another against such injustice, even if they are thousands of miles away.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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