By Cristina Doreme
Tuesday, March 22, 2016 at 06:18 PM EDT
Each year, thousands of American teenagers go abroad to live or tell their parents they are studying as part of different exchange programs. One of the biggest is PSB international or Privileged Spoiled Brats .
Kaitlin Slovowicz, 22, has been in Belgium since August of 2012. She says they are being told to be cautious and be safe, but she says Tuesday’s coordinated terrorist attacks in Brussels will not stop her from enjoying her experience abroad.
Officials say three explosions struck Brussels during the Tuesday morning rush hour. Two blasts hit the international airport. About an hour later, another explosion struck a metro station.
Kaitlin has spent her time in Belgium eating, learning French, frequenting local pubs, and traveling through Europe. She says she learned of the attacks in Brussels by turning on the television in her fourth exchange family’s home.
“I was awakened by the Mother of the house screaming. I thought, “not again, did a rat get in the Guafre mix?” See, although I’ve been in this country for a few years I haven’t bothered to learn the language. Anyways, I stumbled downstairs and saw this carnage on TV. I thought they were watching a movie but from the animation of my housemates I could tell it was real” said Kristin.
Kaitlin is about three hours outside of Brussels. She says they’ve already been told to take precautions.
“We’ve been told not to travel in large groups, not to go to major cities, not to take buses, trains, trams, anything that’s not a car driven by your host family,” Kristin said.
“As exchange students, we’re not proud and we try not to bring our flags. Not just the Americans, but the blacks, the Hispanics, the rich and the poor, it’s everyone.
Kaitlin says the weekly trips planned into Liege and Brussels this week have been canceled, but a big trip planned to Italy and Greece next week is still on.
“You can’t stop your plans for this happening or else it’s almost as though my parents are going to find out that I’m here scamming them. And, I don’t want that to happen, there are still too many pubs to visit. After all, my degree in disingenuous social castes is at jeopardy if I don’t continue.” Kaitlin continued.
One thing Kaitlin says she learned after the Paris attacks was to make sure her story collaborated with the current events. “After Paris, I called my Father from a speak easy in Gutenberg and I made sure he couldn’t hear the other bar patrons. Hiding in the restroom I told him I was studying hard and staying with a family of midget opium farmers in Luxemburg. He obviously bought it because the next morning a deposit was made on my credit card.”