AU abroad students safe in Paris following terrorist attacks
The five AU students currently studying abroad in Paris are safe and accounted for after the attacks that shook the French capital city, according to the Director of AU Abroad Mark Hayes.
These students are participating in the Mission Interuniversitaire de Coordination des Échanges Franco-Americains (MICEFA), which involves AU students directly enrolling in a French university in Paris, according to the program’s website.
Two gunmen attacked the Parisian office of the weekly satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on Jan. 7 and killed 12, including famous cartoonists Stéphane Charbonnier and Jean Cabut. On Jan. 9, four hostages and three gunmen died after a dual hostage situation in a supermarket in the Porte de Vincennes section of Paris and another in a printing office in Dammartin-en-Goele, The Washington Post reported.
In the aftermath of this violence, the University is working with ACCENT International, the study abroad provider in Paris, to provide support for students who are currently living in the city and those who will be arriving in the city soon, Hayes said in an email.
“This support will include counseling services with English speaking counselors,” Hayes said in an email.
AU contacted all the students traveling to Paris by email about safety measures in the wake of the attacks, said Shannon Staley, a junior in the School of International Service who will be studying abroad in Paris this semester.
“Students have been reminded to remain vigilant in their daily travel and activities and to continue to heed all advice and warnings from MICEFA and ACCENT program staff,” Hayes said in an email. “They have also been warned to avoid all areas where there is active police activity and where demonstrations are planned.”
Students were also advised to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), which is offered by the State Department and provides safety updates to registered travelers, according to Hayes.
“[We] are continuing to update them as the situation changes,” Hayes said in an email.
Ten students, including Staley, will arrive in Paris on Jan. 28 to participate in the Intensive French in Paris program, according to Hayes. The School of International Service will also send students to the political science institute, Science Po, according to Hayes.
“I, like everyone else, am appalled by the tragedy in Paris,” Staley said. “My heart goes out to the French. I have my concerns, but I know that [AU] would never allow their students lives to be put in jeopardy.”