Honors travels continue despite London bombings

Dr. Jeff Martinek - Assistant Honors Program Director

Dr. Jeff Martinek – Assistant Honors Program Director

Kelly E. Davis

Despite two terror attacks in London, Missouri Southern’s international studies program will continue as usual, with students still eager to travel.

“We don’t anticipate any changes at this point, but obviously we’re monitoring the situation,” said Dr. Chad Stebbins, director of the Institute of International Studies.

Studying abroad is a requirement for Honors students at Southern, some of whom were studying at Merton College in Oxford during the two London terrorist attacks in July.

Dr. Jeff Martinek, assistant Honors program director, said this will not be changing.

“People have asked us, ‘Does this mean we’re going to stop having international programs, does it mean we’re going to stop requiring international travel for honors?’ and the answer is definitely ‘no’,” he said.

Katie Hargrove, junior international studies major, was part of a group at the British Museum in London during the second attack. Hargrove said her group was stuck in an elevator for 20 minutes following a blast approximately three blocks away.

After being let out of the elevator, her group visited an exhibit for 30 minutes.

They left and were waiting for their bus before they knew what had happened.

Once the group realized what had happened, Hargrove described the experience as “really eerie.”

While stuck in traffic waiting to return to Oxford, 70 miles northwest of London, they saw the site of a bus explosion from the first terror attacks.

“It becomes very real, very fast,” Hargrove said.

She explained the entire group had been in Stratford during the first attacks and hadn’t “connected” to them. Seeing the damage and aftermath of the second had an effect on the students.

Hargrove said no one talked for about 20 minutes as they took it all in.

Though students realized the seriousness of terrorism, it has not deterred them from international travel, according to Martinek.

“As far as I know, we have yet to have an honors student say, ‘I can’t fulfill my international obligation because of fear of terrorism,” he said.

Of the students on the trip, Martinek said many described studying at Oxford as the “greatest experience of their life.”

“They were determined to not let terrorism close them down and make them afraid and make them terrorized,” he said.

Stebbins directs students traveling worldwide.

“I’ve not heard one single student express any apprehension,” he said.

He also said he is not afraid to travel abroad, either.

Following the Oxford program, Hargrove toured Europe for two weeks. In one day she spent five hours on the subway system, a target in the attacks. One thing

Hargrove noticed was how the British were immediately willing to get back on the subway following the attacks.

“As soon as you say, ‘I don’t want to ride the subway,’ they’ve won,” she said. Hargrove plans to visit Africa and Central America, fighting terrorism in her own way.

“Continuing as normal is fighting back,” she said.