Following the terrorist attacks on Nov. 13 that left 130 people dead, the French government has extended the country’s state of emergency leading to the cancellation of the French exchange program.
The program, which would have traveled to France in March, would have been severely limited during the state of emergency.
“I don’t know about safety, I think a more pressing concern is that the French government voted to extend their state of emergency laws through the end of February. Because of these laws, they have suspended a lot of civil liberties in France so in any case, all student field trips in France are not allowed until after February. There’s a possibility that they might extend it again, they might not, it’s hard to tell. That being the case, we wouldn’t have been able to move around in the city in the same way,” Evans said.
Some students had decided to not take part in the program before it was officially cancelled.
“I had said that I couldn’t go about two or three days after we found out that they had cancelled it,” French Club president Raven Ringe said. “I know that I’m going to go to France at some point in the future because I love speaking French, but I think it’s a lot better to go at a time when you’re definitely going to be safe.”
While many view the threat as over, only 6 percent of Americans surveyed by Yahoo Travel say recent terrorist acts have altered their travel plans, the increased feeling of safety is welcome.
“You can be hurt anywhere, like Chicago, that’s been named a target and that’s scary but I’m not going to put myself in the line of fire when there are so many things that are happening,” Ringe said.
The French exchange will not run this spring, but bonds formed in previous exchange programs are not hurt by the cancellation.
“I hosted last year so I have somebody who’s really close, she’s practically like a sister. We talk on Facebook all the time and we email all the time. I’m making sure that they’re okay, and they are, so that’s good,” Ringe said.
As of now, there is no plan to reschedule the trip, but next year students will have the opportunity to host French students.