Studying abroad can be an enriching time for a college student. Spending time in a unique educational setting immerses young adults in a new culture and provides the opportunity to create professional global networks. Outside the classroom, there are even more benefits to be appreciated. Foreign semesters are excellent opportunities for college students to travel to unique parts of the world where culture and business are closely intertwined.
But traveling to and from these foreign lands can sometimes be a deadly endeavor. Other countries, by and large, do not have the same stringent laws regarding traffic and highway safety. When driving on foreign roads, one must be sure to take extra precautions and avoid any potentially life-threatening roads.
On February 17, 2015, 20-year-old Julia Lee was driving with her parents, Aesoon and Warren, in Tokoroa, New Zealand. Julia, who was a college student at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, was enrolled in a study abroad program at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. Her parents had traveled thousands of miles to help their daughter, a computer science major, move into her new temporary home. They were also accompanied by Julia’s younger 18-year-old brother.
On that fateful afternoon at around 3:45 pm, a car accident took place that claimed the lives of Julia, Aesoon and Warren. Miraculously, the son survived.
While the family of four was driving down the road, something happened to take Julia’s eyes off the road in front of her. Julia had reportedly been driving while her parents sat in the backseat. Eyewitnesses reported that the Lee’s car crossed over the yellow lines, where a heavily-laden log truck was coming straight at them. The result of this momentary lapse was catastrophic. The two vehicles collided, but the car bore the brunt of the damage. The truck, which had attempted to veer out of the way, was relatively undamaged.
New Zealand police are still investigating the car accident further. Tufts University held a candlelight vigil in Julia’s memory during the following week of school. Sources say that the Lee’s son remains in critical condition due to his injuries in the car wreck.