For study abroad, adventure trumps fear

Story by Whitney Silkey, Assistant News Editor

At the beginning of the fall semester, I was overjoyed to learn that I would have the opportunity to travel to Amsterdam in the Netherlands for my interterm class in January. Since that time, acts of terrorism have struck Paris, and the effects of this have haunted people around the world.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, the U.S. State Department issued a worldwide travel alert due to the threat of terrorism. Although it did not stop many people who already had plans to travel over the holiday, many U.S. citizens developed a fear for traveling because of the “what if’s” regarding the possibility of being caught in a terrorist attack.

My response to this is that you simply cannot live your life in fear. My feelings about my trip are almost the opposite of fear.

For one, this trip will be my first time out of the country. I am thrilled to take a seven-hour plane ride to explore Amsterdam with a couple of my sorority sisters for a week. The excitement of seeing things I have never seen before, being on an entirely different continent, and seeing all of the tourist sites, shops, bicycles, and canals trumps any and every ounce of fear I may have had about being attacked.

Although I am more than aware that anything could happen at anytime, not only are the chances of being attacked slim, but I cannot let the “what if’s” stop me from living my life.

A well known-saying is that, “Fear does not stop death. It stops life”

I refuse to let people take my happiness away from me, and along with that, I will not let terrorist groups make me live in fear. Traveling is about adventure, and that is certainly what I hope to find in my short time abroad.

My excitement about traveling to Europe has been unfazed by the recent terrorist attacks. Although my heart goes out to the Paris victims and their families, I firmly believe that I cannot live my life in fear, and I hope that others discover this, too.

The recent events in Paris will not define my once-in-a-lifetime experience in Amsterdam. I hope that everyone studying abroad for interterm or for the spring semester returns home safely, but I also hope that they have the time of their lives traveling and discovering what life is really about: adventure.