International students react to day robbery outside campus coffee shop

The daytime robbery outside of Espresso Royale on Oct. 10 has caused some international students to worry about security on campus.

“I was really shocked,” said Shibei Zhang, freshman in LAS. “It made me start to worry about my personal safety on campus.”

As newcomers to the country, some international students are being exposed to criminal activity in the U.S. for the first time.

“Crime happening here is quite different from my home country,” Zhang said. “In China, people are not allowed to carry guns.”

Parents of international students experience heightened concern as they are miles away.

“As an international student, things are a little bit different from native students,” Zhang said. “I can only go home on holidays … Even a very little crime will drive them (my parents) concerned about my safety.”

While many parents abroad are not signed up for crime alerts, through video footage of the incident posted by the University Division of Public Safety, relatives of international students were made aware of the crime quickly.

“My parents watched that video on YouTube, and they called me immediately,” Zhang said. “My dad even asked me to stay at the dorm every night rather than go to the library.”

Xiongfei Yuan, an international student from China and freshman in LAS, said China differs from the U.S. in that nightlife is bigger in China, making crime seem less plausible.

“I don’t feel in danger walking alone on the street at 9 p.m.,” he said. “There are lots of people on the street … but here in Illinois, I don’t see anyone on the street… It’s just so quiet and dark; I feel afraid.”

Yuan said he amounts the difference in crime levels between the two countries to increased security in China.

Mutao Yu, freshman in Media, offered an example.

“(Non-university students) cannot directly walk into the campus unless they sign their name and show their ID to the door guard,” Yu said. “I believe the University needs to set up more rules.”

However, for Yuan, the incident, and others of the sort, has not influenced his opinion of the University.

“I still believe that most people here are very friendly,” he said. “The campus is still very safe.”