Study abroad programs undeterred by terrorist attacks

· Sep 24, 2001 Tweet

Study abroad programs at UW-Madison will continue with business as usual, despite the unprecedented terrorist attacks of two weeks ago.

Joan Raducha, UW Assistant Dean of International Academic Programs, said there have not been any reports of students having to return home due to safety concerns.

“UW-sponsored study abroad programs continue to operate overseas,” Raducha said.

Students enrolled in the study abroad program through Hebrew University in Israel have not yet begun classes, and many of those who have been in the country since this summer are spending their time traveling.

“The traveling has not been a problem, and students remain very safe,” said Greg Steinberger, executive director of UW-Madison’s Hillel. “While there are pockets within Israel that could cause problems, students are made aware of them so that they aren’t in danger.”

Steinberger, who is often involved in recruitment for the Israel study abroad programs, said students continue to apply to go to Israel in January.

“What has happened is not a deterrent for Jewish students,” Steinberger said. “Abroad trips are still something they want to be doing.”

The continued success of study abroad programs is attributed to safety measures taken by both the UW and staff abroad, Raducha said.

Before leaving the country, students attend an orientation where safety concerns are discussed.

“We cover general issues, as well as current situations,” Raducha said.

Madison study abroad officials said they are continuing to monitor the situation so any pertinent information can be conveyed to students currently abroad. In this way, program participants can stay up-to-date with the latest information and increase their understanding of relevant safety measures.

As well as keeping informed, students also have the opportunity to attend meetings where they can discuss concerns and sort through their feelings regarding the attacks.

“We have had an outpouring of support from our colleagues overseas,” Raducha said. “Colleagues at many sites report having conveyed reassuring messages to students and having made counseling available to students if required.”

Raducha also reported the opening of a room in the Aix-en Providence city hall Sept. 11 where students could make phone calls to friends and family in the United States. In addition, many places around the world have held memorial services study-abroad students could attend.

Steinberger said years of Israeli conflict have never had much of an effect on student demand for studying there.

Last semester 300 students applied to go to Israel, though the program was only able to take 80.

These students, Steinberger said, continue to be interested in traveling abroad, regardless of any threats that may prevent their freedom to do so.

Still, many officials predict the extent of the study abroad programs could change in the coming years as the U.S. plans a worldwide attack on terrorism, though the specific effects are yet to be determined.

“At this point, there is no evidence to suggest that study abroad will not continue in the coming years,” Raducha said.

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This article was published Sep 24, 2001 at 12:00 am and last updated Sep 24, 2001 at 12:00 am

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