The last few weeks has left most of Europe with an eerie feeling. Rome has been on high alert, and thousands of soldiers have been deployed to monitor the city. This has left many people in Rome feeling afraid of their surroundings. A large number of American study abroad students have left Rome early, cutting their semester abroad short, due to the threats.
It’s understandable. It’s scary to be living somewhere that seems to be the threat of a major terrorist attack. But can we really live afraid? If we are so fearful that we cannot even calmly live our lives and our experiences, aren’t we giving them what they want? They want us to be afraid. They want us to be weak. And we are not.
I urge everyone who is afraid to realize that this is unfortunately our world. A friend of mine told me that her professor spoke on this topic in their class. He said, “Go out to dinner, go to a concert, go to a theater, go to the Vatican. Just go. I told me kids to.” We can’t stop being humans and active citizens in our community because of something that might happen. We can’t put our social lives on hold and turn down dinner plans and going out because we’re afraid of being around a crowd. We can’t be fearful.
If there’s one thing studying abroad has brought out of me, it is my fearlessness. I’ll get in a plane to somewhere unknown in a heartbeat. If I don’t know the language, oh well. If they food scares me, I’ll eat it anyway. I doubt I’ll ever have another opportunity to say I live in Rome. I refuse to let them win. I am not afraid. Put your fears aside. Live life happily. We can’t write out the future and what will for sure happen or not, but we can continue to live our lives in a positive way and encourage others to do the same. There is no reason not to.