From the Paris attacks to the Manchester bombing, it seems like European terror events are happening with more and more frequency. How could we willingly put ourselves in danger and take students with us? We do so because we agree with expert traveler Rick Steves’ idea that “There’s an important difference between fear and risk.”
It is easy to be fearful when you hear about the latest terror attack non-stop for several days after its occurrence. Fear is a natural response when you are already going on a trip filled with (mostly exciting) unknowns. However, it’s important to remember that any travel, whether it’s to London or downtown Cincinnati, or even being on Xavier’s campus, has a risk. CNN found that for every American killed by an act of terror in the United States or abroad, 1,049 died because of guns. Statistically, the United Kingdom has far fewer terror victims now than it did in the 1970s, ‘80s, and '90s, and current terror attacks have been isolated, unsystematic events, which make the actual danger incredibly low.
The victims of these terror attacks were unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, but there are still things students can do to mitigate their risks:
Be aware of your surroundings.
Know where the nearest exits are.
Take mental notes of public transportation locations.
Remember that drinking excessively will make it more difficult to respond if there is an emergency.
For the most part, having the common sense students would have when going to any large city should be enough to stay safe, but we have more information on general emergency protocols on our Safety page, and World Nomads has an in-depth look at what to do in case of different terror situations.
Pope Francis preached that fear “is an attitude that harms us. . . Do not be afraid, and ask for the grace of courage, the courage of the Holy Spirit that He sends us.” We will do our best to reduce any foreseeable risks for students, but we also will not let the fear of an unlikely event stop us from the definite chance of meeting new friends, exploring an extraordinary city, and expanding our horizons.