Despite a series of train bombings in Madrid last week that
killed at least 200 people and injured more than 1,400, the
University’s Office of International Programs is planning to
go ahead with its scheduled study-abroad programs in Spain.

“At this point we do not have any plans to cancel
programs,” said OIP Director Carol Dickerman. “Nor do
any of our colleagues in other schools.”

The OIP currently administers two programs in Spain — one
in Seville and one in Granada. A third group of University students
is scheduled to arrive in Salamanca on June 27.

The U.S. Department of State has not issued a travel warning in
response to the bombings. The department did, however, release a
public announcement on Friday urging U.S. citizens in Spain to
“remain alert and avoid large crowds when
possible.”

The announcement is set to expire June 11. While students
enrolling in the OIP’s summer program will not arrive in
Salamanca until two weeks after the warnings expire, the State
Department’s announcement does apply to the University
students currently studying in Seville and Granada.

In response to the announcement, the OIP has taken measures to
ensure the safety of the students currently studying in the area,
Dickerman said.

“We forwarded an announcement to the onsite
directors,” she said. “We’ve suggested that they
stick around the program sites, and that they not do a lot of
traveling by plane or train or bus.

“I have heard nothing to indicate that anyone is
considering coming home,” Dickerman added.

But if the situation changes, she said, the OIP will not
hesitate to make adjustments.

Dickerman said the OIP will monitor the situation through its
staff in Spain in addition to watching for travel warnings from the
State Department.

“If there were a travel warning, if we thought conditions
were unsafe in a particular place, we’d cancel a
program,” Dickerman said. “It might be possible that
we’d immediately come home (or) move them somewhere else. It
really depends on what the specific threat is.”

But students who are planning on studying in Spain through the
OIP said the bombings would not affect their plans.
“I’m not thinking about canceling the trip,” LSA
sophomore Matthew Dickman said .

Dickman, who said he has visited Spain before, noted that the
Basque militant group ETA has made terrorism a concern for tourists
since the years of the fascist Francisco Franco regime. Currently,
officials strongly suspect al-Qaida perpetrated the bombing, though
ETA was initially suspected. “Traveling to Spain, one always
knows that terrorism is a problem,” Dickman said.
“I’m not that concerned about it, but it’s always
there in the back of your mind.”

LSA sophomore John Denman-Duggan, who said he will be taking a
trip to Spain and other European countries this summer before
studying in Spain sometime next year, also said he would not change
his plans.

“I wasn’t worried, because I figured, ‘What
are the chances something like that will happen in the few days
I’m there?’ ” Denman-Duggan said.

Still, Dickerman stressed that the OIP would base any future
decisions related to the Spain trips on its own assessment of the
area’s safety.

“Whether students themselves are concerned or not,
obviously we don’t want to be sending students to a place
that’s unsafe,” Dickerman said.

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