A community project hosted at Northeastern University

Nina Karambelas- Boston Strong (Reflections on the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings by Northeastern University students studying abroad)


This image is of Nina Karambelas, a student at Northeastern University, who was studying abroad during the Marathon bombing. This is a current picture of her back on campus, showing the pride she has for her university and city.

Nina Karambelas, a fellow student at Northeastern University, was studying and living abroad in Florence, Italy when the heartrending Boston bombing occurred. She vividly described being out at a restaurant with friends when she received a notification from the Washington Post on her phone about “explosions” happening in Boston. Nina and her friends immediately left the bistro in search of wireless internet or a computer to try to comprehend what was happening and to get in touch with their friends and family. Her immediate reaction was that it must have been an accident, because what else could it be? When Nina finally found out what had really occurred, she felt the wave of fear wash over her again. She desperately tried to reach out to everyone she could back home, and to confirm that they were safe, but “was able to hear back from only one person before the cell phone coverage was shut down in Boston” She was then left to "wonder and wait."

Nina specifically remembers seeing a photo that was featured in the Washington Post, displaying one of the victims from the backside, leaving her face to be unknown. This was particularly traumatizing for Nina because it “could have been any one of her friends back at school.” It was images like this that scared Nina every time she looked online or in a newspaper since they contributed to the constant fear of the unknown.

While describing what it is like to be back in Boston after this tragic event, Nina had difficultly putting it all into words. She had the feeling of being completely aware of what happened, while still not being able to fathom that it had taken place at all. She could not fully comprehend what had gone on, and the affect that it had on those who were actually witnesses to the event. As she said, "I understand it, in that I understand what a tragedy it was, but every time I look at Copley I just can't imagine anything that horrific or deliberate happened in my city."

She then noted that she could not conceive the trauma that the witnesses and victims had undergone, since she had not actually been there and still felt she had suffered from the event.

Now that Nina is back in Boston she can feel the sense of community that has formed since the Boston bombing occurred. She feels a stronger attachment to Boston than ever before, and she is appreciative of the wonderful city in which she resides. She "knew the people of Boston would be resilient, but is awestruck by the strength and support since the bombings."

This content was created by a student Victoria Papa's Advanced Writing for the Social Sciences course at Northeastern University in Fall 2013. The students in the course each created two exhibits, the first directed toward a public audience and the second directed toward researchers in their various academic fields (economics, international affairs, political science, etc.). The students publicly presented their exhibits on December 5th at Forum Restaurant, which was heavily damaged by the second bomb during the Boston Marathon.


Ellie Buckhout


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