The deadly terror attacks in Paris on Friday, Nov. 13, have left France in a state of emergency with 129 people dead and 352 injured, according to The New York Times.
Western students studying abroad as well as French exchange students at Western have felt the impact.
There are currently 16 Western students studying abroad in France, four of which are living in Paris. All of the students have been contacted and are confirmed safe, Paul Cocke, director of the Office of Communications and Marketing said.
Both the attacks in Paris and a double suicide attack in central Beirut on Thursday, Nov. 12, which left 43 dead, were claimed by the Islamic State, according to The New York Times.
The concert hall Bataclan, the sports stadium Stade de France, a hotel, a street corner and two restaurants were the locations that fell under siege by three teams of assailants in France.
Since Friday, French President François Hollande has declared that France is in a state of emergency and has begun an aggressive counter attack against the Islamic State, according to The New York Times.
Junior Hayley Magee is studying abroad in London and was visiting Paris when the massacre occurred.
Magee was at a bar with friends when people started getting phone calls, she said in an email.
She described the atmosphere in the bar as nothing out of the ordinary until the cops came and people started hearing of a hostage situation.
“It just seemed like there were no words for the situation,” Magee said. “There wasn’t anything to be said that could make it better or make it any less scary.”
French major Carmen DeGiulio is studying in Grenoble, France, a three-hour drive away from Paris. She found out about the attacks at midnight from a fellow international student and thought it was surreal.
“Paris seemed like an untouchable city to me,” DeGiulio said in an email. “Just before we heard about these attacks, I was talking to my host mother at dinner, saying how a lot of people think of Paris as the capital of the world; the City of Lights.”
French exchange student Marion Blanc said she was shocked when her family in France told her what had happened.
“It was a nightmare, I couldn’t believe it was true,” Blanc said. “I am very far away from my country so it was very strange.”
Blanc said she is not sure she wants to go back to Paris soon and will be very stressed when she does.
Despite the violent acts, DeGiulio said it seems France is banding together to support one another. Instead of the violence, people were concerned about the citizens of Paris in the aftermath.
The spirit of the French culture continues to surprise DeGiulio and she said she is grateful to take a valuable lesson from this horrible tragedy.
“In the days after, many people went straight out and had a drink in memory of those who lost their lives,” DeGiulio said. “People are more resilient than we give them credit for.”
As well as having students in France, Western is currently hosting five students from France. Western is trying to reach out to these students and others who have been affected directly or indirectly by the recent events. Counseling Services are free to students, their phone number is (360) 650-3164.