I was six years old when two planes crashed into and demolished two of New York City's most beloved buildings, killing thousands. I was eighteen years old when terrorists murdered civilians during the Boston Marathon. I was 20 years old when suicide bombers and gunmen brought terror to Paris. In each of these instances, terror was too close to my front door.
My decision to study abroad was complicated by the fact that I had to choose between studying in Tel Aviv and London. While the former holds my heart and forever has my support, the seeming safety of the latter, away from the threat of terror in the Middle East, helped to sway my decision. And so I went to London, saying my goodbyes to family, friends and my English Bulldog.
Perhaps it was naive to think that the terror that the Middle East is notorious for wouldn't and couldn't make its way to Europe. But now it has. Considering the attacks earlier this year on Charlie Hebdo in Paris and in other areas of France, as well as the attacks that took place this past week in Paris and around the globe, it is obvious that the threat is real.
While extra safety measures should and will be taken, this is not the time to admit defeat. This is a most crucial time to stand steadfast by your beliefs, to grow your love for adventure and continue to embrace foreign cultures.
I now realize that no place is entirely safe from those who are so intent on harming others. The most significant way to combat terrorism is to discard preconceptions of individuals and foreign cultures, no matter how challenging it may be to do so, and to move forward without debts to settle and grudges.
It is now the time to let world wars, suicide bombings and worldwide terrorism become a concept known only in history books.
All Things Abroad is happy to answer any questions that you may have regarding the Paris attacks, safety abroad or anything else. We can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.