While I’m studying, desperately trying to keep my GPA up, I keep getting distracted by news I heard today. Austin Bice, a San Diego student studying in Madrid, Spain was found dead today. He had been missing for the past week. His body was found in a river outside a night club, where he had left to walk home alone.
In too many ways am I saddened by this news. Primarily for his parents. No parents should even have to lose a child, and they will forever remain in my prayers. I hope they have the strength to hang onto life and to recover from this tragedy. Life just isn’t fair sometimes. His friends and family are also suffering right now, so I have to think of them too.
Another part of me is empathetic towards his fellow study abroad students, and all study abroad students really. I can’t imagine the sadness, the possible fear and confusion they must feel. I know first hand when you live somewhere, no matter how long a part of you feels a loyalty towards your sometime temporary home. The thought that home would feel unsafe, it’s a betraying feeling. I can’t imagine this happening in Cordoba, where I was staying. This situation should be the least of your worries when you are studying abroad. It’s a time of freedom, adventure, self-discovery. A once in a life time opportunity where one should be allowed to experience self-growth through amazing experiences. This loss undoubtably shunts the experience of Austin’s fellow students. And many other international students, and those to come. Because this event will not be forgotten. A part of me is also saddened by the fact that inevitably enrollment in international colleges will go down. EAP programs in Spain were already hanging on by a limb, many were cut this past year. The probably decrease in enrollment will shut down many programs, probably Cordoba. This means that many students to come may not get to share in the joy I felt, and many others have felt exploring the life and culture of Spain, a beautiful, historically rich country.
I pray for Austin, his family his friends. And I ask you to do the same. I pray that nothing like this ever happens again, that all the students in Madrid and Spain and Europe are able to find peace with this tragedy, and able to remember themselves in all of their selfless prayers and mourning, and that they try to have an amazing experience despite all this.
Facebook Event – You can read about him, see his pictures, and see how many people will be praying for and supporting his family.