Hey Kids…just keep in mind that when you are traveling overseas on a gap year or a semester abroad, you’re not in Kansas anymore. Amanda Knox sure experienced this reality while locked away in an Italian prison for four years for a murder that she did not commit. Her family, her friends, and our entire country rallied behind her. She had a legal team that worked tirelessly to get her out. But the rules are not the same in Italy or in any other foreign country. We are accustomed to the freedom we have in the United States. In fact, I think most of us would admit that we take it for granted. While you may have evaded minor parking, speeding, drinking, or drug violations in the states, do not think the same rules will apply when you are in a foreign country.
Amanda Knox spent four years of her life locked away in an Italian prison. Luckily for her and her family, her case was overturned and she was acquitted. It is important to realize that not only could things have gone the other way for her, but also her sentence could have been extended making her situation even worse.
As Americans we are used to our freedom, our justice system, our lawyers, and the notion, “Aw, that won’t be me.’ It could be you, so you had better be careful. Be mindful and respectful when you are traveling on a gap year or semester abroad or even living in a foreign country. Don’t take your citizenship for granted and be mindful at all times of what you do and say.
Don’t end up wasting years of your life locked up in a prison cell for a crime you didn’t commit. Pay attention. Remember you are a guest in someone else’s country and behave as such.
This is real life folks, not a movie, not a TV show. It can really happen, and if you have any doubt, just review what Amanda Knox and her family have endured for the past four years and what they will have to face as she reinvents herself and moves ahead to take her next step.