13 décembre 2011 – a day forever in the minds of the Liègeois, and all its inhabitants.

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I can’t begin to describe the horror of yesterday. The panic on the streets, the news trickling in and the fear of not knowing what exactly was going on. But I don’t intend on writing a blog solely about this terrible incident and how it unfolded, but instead I want you all to know how amazed and relieved I was by the sudden outpouring of solidarity, and care, everyone in Liège had for one another.

I was, unfortunately,  in the city centre when it happened. Being stranded in a city you have only known for 4 months, in such a confusing and terrifying time, left me in shock. But thanks to the help of the city of Liège, it has been less difficult to deal with than it could have been.

People in the street were running with eachother, holding hands with people they didn’t know; I was led to safer ground by one woman of about 80. I can’t thank her enough. Others were being comforted by strangers, others helping the elderly to remain calm, or those who had fallen or trying to reunite friends and families who had gotten separated in the mêlée.

As well as the support of the Liègeois, we, the Erasmus students, have also been receiving support elsewhere. The university has set up a drop in centre for anyone wanting to talk or get help about yesterday’s incident, available to all students, Erasmus or local, and the Erasmus team has sent emails round offering similar guidance. Edinburgh University also got in touch within two hours of the attack, to offer assistance and to check up on my, and the other Edinburgh student in Liège’s, safety.

I am not writing this to relive such a horrible day, or tell you of my experiences, but to comfort anyone who has any worries about going abroad, so that even in the worst of situations imaginable, like yesterday, being an Erasmus student means you find yourself in a secure and vast network of help, support and care. From the other Erasmus students, to your home university, to your Erasmus university, and even the inhabitants of Liège itself. It has given me so much comfort in what was such a tortuous day to know that there is always someone there, just in case.

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