Name: Jackie Gaffney
Home University: Indiana University
Summer Session 1 Course: Corporate Social Responsibility: Business of Ethics?
Summer Session 2 Course: Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism from a European Perspective
Let me first start out by saying that my study tour was one of the most incredible experiences I have ever had. For my Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism class, we spent half the study tour in Oslo, Norway studying the Breivik attacks of 2011. The special part of this aspect of the tour was that my class was permitted to actually visit the island Utøya, where some of his attacks occurred. It was a powerful and moving experience to be allowed to walk around the island and speak to the architect of the upcoming renovations and memorials. Furthermore, we met with the AUF leader (AUF is the Workers’ Youth League, who holds the summer camp on the island) who was there the day of the attacks and is now building the program back up to recover from the tragedy of 2011. Being able to speak with her and hear about her experience made everything we have been learning about terrorism in class more real.
After Oslo, my class and I traveled to London to learn more about the 7/7 bombings. We were even able to speak to a BBC reporter, Margaret Gilmore, as well as visit Quilliam, a think tank, and the Finsbury Park Mosque. What I loved most about London (besides being able to see the sights) was hearing different perspectives of the lectures and guest speakers. Also, the interesting part of this trip was that we conducted civilian interviews to hear their perspectives about terrorism and how to counter it. I have never really been able to speak to people in other countries, so this experience opened my eyes to different ways of thinking about a topic or situation and take the time to reflect on that.
However, the fact that my class went from a group of students I didn’t know to a group of people I could hang out with and enjoy sightseeing has made the experience even more rewarding. My classmates and professor have all gotten so close after spending five straight days together and doing things other than just sitting in class discussions. We bonded over the sights, the speakers, and of course, the food. The past week has been an emotional one, with the topics of my course and the visits we did. But even though it has had some heavy moments, I loved every opportunity we were given and how much I have learned on a subject I knew little to nothing about beforehand. I am so grateful for my experiences in Norway and the UK.