The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Monday, April 22, 2024 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

Study abroad office is available 24/7 for students' emergencies

He immediately contacted UNC students who were studying abroad in France.

“It was a Friday afternoon. It was around about 4:30 when the combined incidents in Paris occurred,” Miles said.

Despite recent events such as this, numbers for students studying abroad continue to increase at an average of 81 students per year from 2014 to 2016.

Junior Seteena Turner, who is traveling abroad to Seville, Spain, in the spring, said her biggest concern is being gone for the first six months of Donald Trump’s presidency.

“The first thought that popped into my head is, ‘Will I be allowed back to my home country, the United States, just because I was visiting outside?,’” Turner said. “Especially in terms of the walls he was talking about putting up and not letting people back in who don’t belong.”

“I can easily be viewed as someone like that and that’s the only place where I don’t feel safe. In terms of everything else, I feel like everything else is beyond my control.”

Junior Jasmin Brooks is studying abroad next semester and said she was not concerned about terrorist attacks.

“Going to Barcelona, I wouldn’t say that’s at the top of my concern list, but it definitely is in the back of my mind,” Brooks said.

Miles confirmed not a lot of students are worrying about traveling abroad and said there is no consistent expression of fear of terrorist attacks.

“Terrorism (is) like earthquakes — very difficult to predict an earthquake,” Miles said.

Miles said if there is reason to believe there will be an attack in a given country, a travel alert with advice from the Department of State will be sent to students in an effort to be proactive.

Students are not alone during these unpredictable events, but Miles said they do share the responsibility of keeping themselves safe, especially when it comes to general safety and security.

“Anyone, whether they be on Franklin Street on a Saturday night or whether they be on one of the main streets of Sydney, Australia, on a Saturday night, there are things that you can do to put yourself at risk,” Miles said.

Before traveling abroad, UNC students, faculty and staff are required to register with the Global Travel Registry and submit their itinerary. Even after taking these precautions, students are encouraged to never travel alone.

“You really have to be aware of your surroundings and the environment that you place yourself in,” Turner said. “It’ll be very different than our home country, but using those same precautionary measures and just heightening them basically.”

Brooks said as a woman she will have her guard up while studying abroad.

While abroad, students have immediate access to their exchange university.

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.

“The student is not alone, even when they are on an exchange program where they may be the only UNC student,” Miles said. “They have that administrative structure that’s available.”

Miles said he and his staff are always on call for extreme cases such as rape, natural disasters or terrorist attacks and they recognize and understand this to be part of their jobs.

“We do care,” Miles said.