Israel-Gaza Conflict Impacts American Study Abroad Students

Responses to the question of whether the Study Abroad programs should continue have been diverse . . . Further Resources/Articles on the subject can be found at the following links:

Out of sheer curiosity, what is your opinion?  Should the schools cancel these programs that students have paid for and planned for, and if so, how should the students be reimbursed for the lost time and experience?  Conversely, should the schools be able to assume that students have done their research on the situation and are still interested enough in the program for it to continue?  How do you think the schools should rule in this debate?

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Israel-Gaza Conflict Impacts American Study Abroad Students

by Harmeet Kaur via “USA Today

Smoke rises after an Israeli airstrike in Al Shejaeiya neighbourhood during a military operation in eastern Gaza City, July 22. (Mohammed Saber, epa)

For Rawan Muhanna, the past few weeks were some of the most terrifying times of her life.

A senior studying chemistry at the University of Texas at Dallas, Muhanna just returned last week from a trip to the Gaza Strip. She says she and her family visit Gaza often to spend time with relatives. This time, her family journeyed to the area for her sister’s wedding. Soon after the joyous celebrations, however, Muhanna says she began hearing F-16 missiles being dropped on surrounding homes.

“‘Unsafe’ doesn’t quite capture how we felt,” she says. “The fear brought me to tears, which I’ve never experienced before.”

Although the Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated areas of the world, Muhanna says the streets were empty when the violence began to escalate. She recalls an incident in which her family had to leave their family’s apartment building to buy groceries.

“We’re literally just praying and speeding through empty streets just to get to the grocery store to buy food,” Muhanna says. “That was one time that I genuinely felt like I might not get home.”

Violence between Israel and Gaza-based militant groups, most notably Hamas, escalated this month after three young Israeli students were kidnapped and murdered in the West Bank on June 10. On July 2, a Palestinian man was killed in retaliation near Jerusalem.

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