UWL student in Paris sheds light on the city 3 days after terrorist attacks

Farrah Bultman says people are nervous to go outside in public places

A UW-La Crosse student studying abroad in Paris sheds light on the city just three days after terrorists attacks killed nearly 130 people.

There are four U-W La Crosse students studying abroad in France right now. They are all safe after Friday’s terrorist attacks but one student said the atmosphere in Paris has definitely shifted.

UWL senior Farrah Bultman has been in Paris for about two months studying international business and marketing. She said she chose Paris because it fit well with her program and it’s always been a dream of hers to study in what is known as the City of Lights. However, this past weekend, she says it hasn’t been shining so bright.

“You can definitely feel a heaviness in the air,” said Bultman.

Bultman has been back in Paris for a little over 24 hours and she said a lot has changed.

“Even walking in and out of the streets it just seemed very open and very quiet,” said Bultman.

Bultman was actually in Italy on fall break when the terrorist attacks happened in Paris on Friday. When she heard the news she said everything around her stopped.

“We were mortified of what was going on and we tried to contact our families back home because they were constantly sending messages, ” said Bultman.

Bultman was supposed to go back to Paris on Saturday but she didn’t actually get back until Sunday afternoon.

“We were unsure of how safe it would be to fly back into the city,” said Bultman.

When she finally got back she said nothing could have prepared her for what she experienced next.

A city once so busy and vibrant is now quiet and somber.

“Even now people are still kind of nervous to go outside,” said Bultman.

And a city that people once felt safe in is now on edge.

“I have seen police officers actually walking through the metro and on the train as well,” said Bultman. “They assured us to not go to places that are normal for large groups, you know the museums, the Eiffel Tower.”

Bultman said Paris is forever changed but the amount of love and support from around the world will once again make Paris whole.

“Little by little it will hopefully go back to a new normal,” said Bultman.

And that is why she has decided to stay and finish her semester abroad.

“I feel part of the city and part of the culture,” said Bultman. “You have to keep going. I’m not going to throw everything away out of fear.”

Bultman said some of her classes were canceled today but everything is expected to go back to normal Tuesday. She said she has plans on visiting the memorial site Tuesday after school, so she can pay her respects to those killed this weekend.       

Bultman said before she went to France, she was warned about ISIS and about the possibility of an attack but like many others, she never thought it would happen while she was there.