Professor trapped during terrorist attack recalls events

Hannah Lee

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A priest came out and told everyone in the Notre Dame Cathedral to sit down in the pews that were normally closed off to the tourists, and explained to everyone that a man was attacking people outside of the cathedral with a hammer.

“Everyone was very calm,” Soderberg recalled.

Soderberg said that during the Notre Dame attack, she was inside the cathedral when they announced in French what was going on. Soderberg spoke French and spent a year abroad in Paris during her junior year of college.

Police came into the cathedral and told people to put their hands up. Soderberg then took a riveting photo from inside the cathedral and posted in on Twitter, announcing that she was trapped in the cathedral and that she was safe.

Soderberg was traveling Europe with her 16-year-old niece for a week. During that one week, she experienced not only the terror attack in Paris, but she was in London during the attack on the London Bridge three days prior.

After experiencing both attacks, Soderberg said that it just made her and her niece feel uneasy throughout the entire trip. After Paris, Soderberg headed to Florence and said she was nervous wherever she went.

“It [was] just creepy. Kind of on edge. On the other hand you don’t want to give in to [the terrorists],” said Soderberg. “It made it worse, because it makes you on edge.”

After almost two hours, and a thorough search from police, everyone was released. Soderberg posted on Twitter with another picture after she left the cathedral.

Soderberg told Spinnaker that for any students that are abroad, either on their own or on a trip, they should always contact the U.S. Embassy in that country. Students can go to the official embassy website and email the country their information and how long they plan on staying.

Soderberg also recommended students to stay away from large crowds and huge tourist sites and to always be vigilant. However with these warnings, Soderberg still said that students should travel abroad.

“It’s one of the most important things to do in your life,” Soderberg said. “It will be the most life-changing experience.”

Soderberg teaches two courses at UNF, Global Issues in Contemporary Politics and Real Policy World, both are topics regarding foreign policy. She hopes that this experience will allow for her to give students a real life experience on how terrorism affects politics.

“It helps teaching. Students love real life stories,” said Soderberg. “I notice they perk up when they say I was there, and it makes it real.”

Soderberg said these terrorist attacks that have been plaguing Europe in the past two months should not determine how we live our lives.

“Don’t let the terrorist infringe in our freedom,” Soderberg said. “You can’t accept that it’s going to be normal.

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