Aruba’s loss is a college students gain. The disappearance of Natalee Holloway in Aruba in 2005 has not been forgotten. The memory and legacy of Natalee Holloway will be that future teens and college age students will be taught the risks of traveling abroad. Safe travels aboard does not necessarily target Aruba as the only unsafe place to travel; however, it has become the poster island for safety abroad and has been branded. However, in the case of Natalee Holloway it is not just a message of traveling safe while on vacation, it’s a message of what could potentially happen with an investigation afterword’s in a foreign land.
As long as safety abroad is taught and Natalee Holloway’s name is referenced so will Aruba. The two have become synonymous and Aruba’s bad PR clock will never stop ticking. In America, a human life is more important than tourism.
Waits said she likes to think Natalee is at Auburn now though, since has spent the last two years looking at safety guidelines for students traveling abroad for the foundation Beth Holloway founded in her daughter’s memory — the International Safe Travels Foundation.
“When I paid attention to Natalee’s case, what I saw was a young girl,” Waits said. “I saw every young person.”
Like Beth Holloway, Waits didn’t want to see anything like what happened to Natalee happen again. And, at the time, she needed a research topic for graduate school.
Waits decided to look into how aware students are of safety guidelines when traveling. Her research has become the curriculum Beth Holloway shares with traveling students across the country. Waits said it was first introduced to Auburn students studying abroad last spring.
“Students are pretty confident before they leave,” she said, but, when she asks them about the process of say, court proceedings, in their destination country, they are at a loss.
“No one can say what happens over there,” Waits said. “It’s not their fault though. They’ve just never been told.”
“Beth experienced this. She went through it,” Waits said. “She wants to make sure it doesn’t happen again.” (OA Now)