A Linfield student studying in Ecuador this semester was robbed while at the home of his homestay family.
Invaders stole junior Sam Gauksheim’s laptop and cell phone, along with the homestay family’s various valuables. It is unclear whether any cash was stolen. Nobody was harmed during the incident, said Shaik Ismail, director of international programs.
Gauksheim declined to comment on the incident, saying “it was 10 minutes of my study abroad experience and hasn’t really had an impact on me.”
It was not clear whether the robbers were armed or when the robbery took place.
The International Programs Office offered to pay for Gauksheim’s ticket to return home for either the rest of the semester or for a short amount of time to help Gauksheim recover.
“As soon as we heard, we got in contact with him and asked him if he wanted help,” Ismail said.
Linfield also offered to pay for a hotel for Gauksheim to stay at while he finished the rest of his semester in Quito.
Gauksheim declined both offers and instead wanted to finish the rest of the semester with his homestay family.
“He is a resilient young man and took care of things himself,” Ismail said. “He probably felt he wanted to be with the [homestay] family and not desert the family.”
This is the first time a robbery to this degree has happened to a student while abroad in the past 10 years, Ismail said.
However, petty theft does happen to students occasionally while abroad.
“Bottom line is you have to be prudent,” Ismail said. “Any place is not more violent than anywhere else.”
Linfield does its best to educate students about how to be safe while studying abroad during student orientation. Students learn tips, such as not walking alone at night, having their backpack in the front of them while walking through crowds and how to be more vigilant while walking around.
“I’m glad he’s safe and nobody got hurt,” Ismail said. “Laptops and cellphones can be replaced.”
Samantha Sigler/News editor
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