In the wake of last year's terror attacks in Paris and Tuesday's deadly explosions in Brussels, some USC students are beginning to wonder whether studying abroad in Europe is worth the risk.
European-hosted programs have proven to be a popular choice for students looking to broaden their horizons. In the 2013-2014 academic year, over 53 percent of American students who studied abroad chose to do so in Europe. Such numbers, however, might wane with the news of the recent tragedies.
"I know a lot of people—especially if they're going to the place where it happened—there's a lot of fear," sophomore Bria Jamison said. Jamison plans on studying abroad in Spain this summer.
"My parents are really worried about me being abroad in general because we're not super comfortable with the idea," Jamison said. "But as far as terrorist attacks, I feel like that can happen anywhere— it happened to the U.S."
All four USC students who are currently studying in Brussels are safe, but the concern of an unexpected terror attack still brews in their conscience. Bobby Nahill, currently studying in London, said he was sitting in a coffee shop when he heard the news.
"I got a text from one of my friends in Spain saying, 'Hey did you hear about what happened in Brussels?' I did at first think, 'Oh my gosh. What if something happens right now while I'm in this coffee shop?' In Paris it was a restaurant. It could just as easily happen to a coffee shop in London."
Following Tuesday's attacks, Nahill received two cautionary emails: one from his British academic program faculty and another from the U.S. Department of State.
"We strongly urge any students planning to travel to or through Belgium in the next days or week to revise their travel plans accordingly," warned a representative from the ACCENT International program in London.
"Exercise particular caution during religious holidays and at large festivals or events," the U.S. State Department advised in its travel alert.
Despite any major concerns, studying abroad seems to be growing more popular among college students. In the 2013-2014 academic year (the most recent statistics from the U.S. Department of Education), the number of American students abroad increased by more than five percent over the previous year, from 289,408 students to 304,467 students.
Most spring semester study-abroad programs end in mid-June.