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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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A fighter jet squadron flies over during the National Anthem before Texas A&M’s game against Arkansas at Olsen Field on Saturday, May 18, 2024. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
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Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Leaving on a jet plane

Some students are packing their suitcases full of laundry to wash as they head home for spring break. Others are packing their swimsuits as they travel to the beach or their ski suits as they take to the slopes. Then there are those students, such as Cindy Smith, a junior biomedical engineering major, who are packing their suitcases with tourist gear for a week abroad.
Smith will visit a friend in London whose family recently moved there.
“We found really cheap plane tickets, which made us decide to go for sure,” she said.
Even though spring break is a popular time for students to travel, this year travelling abroad takes on a new perspective with a war seemingly on the horizon.
According to Connie Lara, a travel agent at Aggieland Travel, the threat of war has not deterred some tourists from taking the opportunity to travel overseas, especially to Europe.
“(Those traveling) are a little wary,” she said. “But it is not for us to tell them whether it is safe or not, it is up to their own discretion.”
Smith said that she is not overly concerned about safety because England’s relationship with the United States is pretty solid.
“I studied abroad in Italy for six weeks last semester and the world tension was also an issue then, but I didn’t have a single problem the whole time I was there,” she said. “The fact that we are going to be staying with her parents and not on our own is also a good thing as far as safety is concerned.”
Ryan Couch, a junior business major who is going to Wittmund, Germany on a mission trip during the break, said that because of the possibility of war he has taken certain precautions before going.
“It’s always wise to be cautious wherever you go internationally because you have no idea how our norms fit or don’t fit with their culture,” he said. “The idea is to be patient, teachable and friendly.”
Couch and his team of 24 other Texas A&M students will be working with high school students in northern Germany. He said that as part of their preparations, they have been in contact with students already stationed in Germany.
“They say that anti-Americanism is the same as it was six months ago, and that safety isn’t an issue as long as you don’t wave your flag in a German’s face and yell at them,” Couch said. “In fact, one person remarked that because of Germany’s neutral stance on the United States-Britain warfront, Germany is probably safer than the United States at this point.”
However, as the tensions heighten with war sentiment, Lara said travelers should be alert of everything going on around them and be suspicious of everyone. She also recommends allowing for plenty of time at the airport, arriving two or three hours ahead of their scheduled departure time and following all instructions at airport security, such as taking off shoes or allowing easy access for bags to be searched.
Seeing the sights, such as the Tower of London, is something freshman finance major Lisa May looks forward to over the break when she will travel to London with a class from the Business School.
“I’ve never been to London and I thought it would be neat to go with friends,” she said. “We’re doing all the tours and going to all the main sightseeing places.”
Although May anticipates a week in another country, the thought that war may break out while she is abroad has crossed her mind on occasion.
“I’m not nervous anything will happen; I’m just concern about getting back into the United States if war does break out,” she said.
May said her group has been warned not to “look American.”
“They told us not to go in big groups, so we don’t look like we’re tourists and draw attention to ourselves,” she said. “If we’re asked if we’re American, we’re suppose(d) to say that we are from Canada, and we can’t wear any kind of Texas A&M clothing to show that we are from here.”

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