The effects of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks were not limited to people living in the United States. Regardless of city, state, country and continent, people around the globe mourned the news of the worst terrorist attack in American history. Many international students can recall where they were when they heard the news, and how it had impacted them personally as well as those around them.
Sophomore finance major Marcus Drauschke was only a 13-year-old boy, living in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany on his way to hockey practice when he initially heard about the terrorist attacks going on in the United States.
“I was in school that day. It was actually one of the nicest days of the year, very blue skies. Usually in September, it’s already getting pretty cold in Germany. I was about to go to training from class, and my dad texted me and said ‘Hey, go home and watch the news.’ So everybody just left school and went home. I turned the TV on, and it was like two or three minutes later that the second plane ran right into it,” Drauschke said.
Drauschke had never visited the United States but had first become aware of the World Trade Center after his older sister had studied in America for a year. She had told him stories and showed him pictures of her visit to the top floor of the building.
Drauschke said his initial reaction was disbelief.
“I mean, it was crazy that something happened like this.” Drauschke said. “My first thought all day was ‘Man, that can’t be true, it’s got to be some kind of joke,’ or ‘That can’t really be happening, planes crashing into the World Trade Center.’”
Freshman accounting major Amit Lalvani had a different reaction. A native of India, Lalvani said he could not only believe what had happened in the United States, he could sympathize.
“I can relate to it quite a bit because I’m from Bombay, and there are many terrorist attacks in Bombay,” Lalvani said. “Recently, in November 2008 there were a few attacks in Bombay, and I was quite close to it. And if you are from where I am, we have a direct trek from Pakistan, so all of the terrorist groups from there can easily get in. So, I was quite aware of what was happening out here.”
Lalvani attended an American high school in India that held a moment of silence for those lost in the attacks. Despite what he had learned in school about 9/11, he was eager to study in the United States. That proved to be somewhat of a difficult task due to the attacks.
“[9/11] didn’t really affect my decision, but when I was applying for my visa, I was told that it was really hard to get,” Lalvani said.
Lalvani said he was told that it would be difficult to acquire a visa because the terrorists who committed the attacks came to the United States on student visas.
“That was a long process,” Lalvani said. “It was really hard to get a visa to come here, but everything else was quite smooth.”
International students looking to continue their education in the United States had to take into consideration the risk factors that came with moving across the world and starting off new. For some, the reservations of others were more of a factor than their own fears.
A native of Nanjing, China, freshman business major Bessy Fang said she was eager to come to the United States after hearing all of the opportunities and education that it had to offer. But after hearing about the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, her family had some concerns about sending her to America.
“My dad actually talked about it, he asked me ‘Where is that city?’ and ‘How close is it to Fort Worth?’ just because he’d heard that there were so many terrorist attacks here, not in Texas but in the United States,” Fang said. “But I knew Texas was quite a safe place.”
Junior journalism major and Glasgow, Scotland native Shain Thomas had been living in the United States for a little under a year at the time of the attacks, but he said his faith in the country did not waver after the terrorist attacks took place.
“My perception of the United States has always been the same: it’s an open country where people are able to express what they think, and it has a written constitution,” Thomas said. “With freedom comes a certain responsibility, but you know, I’ve always liked this country. This is a good country to live in.”