Student Protests at Home vs. Abroad

This blog entry was submitted by Caitlin Khal, who studied abroad in Paris, France.

“In the three months I’ve been studying in Paris so far, I’ve heard so much about issues of gun violence and school shootings, the NRA, and Trump from back home. My mom asked me if I had ever heard about the topic of guns or gun violence as a concern among high school and college students in France, and my answer was that no, I hadn’t. I have been so impressed by how politically involved French people my age are, but I almost feel envious that the issues they get to protest have to do with government policies they disagree with and ours are really out of concern for our lives and safety. How can we get to protesting small policy changes that affect our education when we don’t even have our basic safety needs met on school campuses?

Being abroad has given me a new perspective on being politically active and what kinds of issues concern people my age in France compared to in the U.S. For example, the French government wants to improve career opportunities after high school by making over-subscribed disciplines like law and medicine more selective. Students are protesting not being able to choose their own life paths and are defending the French concept of university for all. In the U.S., students are still fighting for the right to learn in a safe environment.

I feel a sense of pride knowing that back home there is a new movement of young people and young voters, high school and college-aged, who are becoming very politically active and vocal, marching and organizing at a level we haven’t seen since the 60’s. Not only for issues related to gun violence, but also equality for women, POC, and members of the LGBTQIA community, and I hope that we never stop protesting for what we deserve at any level.”

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