Local News

NCSU student in Brussels calls city safe, resilient

Posted March 24

— A North Carolina State University student studying in Belgium this semester said Thursday that she feels safe in Brussels after this week's terrorist attacks and that the city is slowing returning to normal.

Charlotte Mendes, a 21-year-old junior who is studying political science at Vesalius College, said she had returned from a trip to Spain and was at the Brussels airport on Monday – a day before two bombs ripped through the terminals.

"I’m definitely a bit unnerved," Mendes told WRAL News in a Skype interview. "Someone placed a bomb near the train station by our school as well, but the police caught that one and they evacuated part of our school. So, to hear about that, it hit home because I would’ve been there."

Still, she said Brussels is calm, noting people were out looking for gelato in the hours after the attacks.

"In Brussels, the people are very strong," she said. "I definitely feel there’s a lot of love and support for each other here."

An amped-up police presence adds to the calm, she said.

"I definitely feel more comfortable now. That’s because the Belgian authorities have been acting. They’ve upped their security to make everyone feel safe," she said.

Vesalius College has canceled classes this week, so Mendes hasn't ventured far from home. Although the city's subway system, which also was hit by a bomb, is running again, a curfew remains in place for public transportation.

Mendes has tried to ease her parents' fears and said she has no plans to return to the U.S. before her study abroad term is over in June. After all, she said, the attack could have happened anywhere.

"You can’t prepare yourself. You have to deal with it when the situation comes," she said.

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