Mary-Clare Bosco, ‘13, attends Pomona College, where she is an environmental climate major. She has been taking classes in Paris since September.
(At the time of the interview, Bosco was traveling in Barcelona. She has since heard from Pomona and has returned to the U.S., as the college will not allow her to remain in France at this time. Check back later for an update.)
Q: What were you doing when you received the news of the terrorist attacks in Paris on Nov. 13?
A: My friend and I had just come back from an amazing day touring the monasteries in Barcelona. We were about to go out to this magical dinner in Barcelona.
Q: What was your first reaction?
A: (I was) shocked and dismayed. I was weeping for three-and-a-half hours.
I got some shocking messages from a news app when I turned on the WiFi: 100 people had died in Paris.
Q: What did you do upon receiving the news?
A: The first thing I did was FaceTime my mom. She didn’t know it was happening. I was weeping.
My dad called Pomona, saying “What is going on?” and they responded saying, “Don’t worry. We will get in contact soon.” I have not received a message, and it has been five hours since it began.
Q: How personally affected are you by these acts of terror?
A: There are terrorists shooting people on roads that I have been to, places that I have frequented. I went to an American concert in Paris and knowing that tonight there was a machine gun firing (at an American concert in Paris), I thought, that could have been me at that concert.
Q: What are your concerns regarding Paris after these brutal attacks?
A: Eerily, I got an email from the alert system from my study abroad program that we have to travel with our passports because (on) Nov. (30), Paris will be hosting the Global Climate Summit, where there will be important officials. They said that this would produce lots of civil unrest.
And then literally the same day this happens. What will happen when the Summit actually begins?
Q: How are your friends who are still in Paris?
A: Some of my friends are on lockdown, and I haven’t heard from Pomona College.
Q: Are you going to be able to continue your studies in France?
A: I don’t know if I will be able to stay my semester here.
Pomona has such superficial requests from us. I am fearing if I will get my credit for the semester when I should be fearing for my safety. It is so stupid that I am worried about getting ****ing grades.
Q: What were your parents’ reactions?
A: My parents want me to go home. I can’t go back to France now because the borders are closed and there are only four weeks left of the class.
Q: What is your emotional state after all the trauma you have been through these past few hours?
A: I’m just sad (for all those people). I’m happy I’m safe, and I am praying for them. This is the biggest tragedy that I have ever personally dealt with. I really feel for the French people. Right now I am being torn – ripped – out of this wonderful culture, and I am really, really saddened by it. To be honest, it is so tragic, and I am just kind of blank. I will not be able to sleep tonight.
—By Chardonnay Needler