In China, my sister left a message on my facebook wall asking me if I was alright because she heard about the student in Hong Kong. I thought she was referring to a non-SAS person. However, in my hotel room in Beijing, I went to the SAS website and discovered that Kurt Leswing was killed by a drunk driver at night. I was extremely shocked to hear this. I’ve heard of incidents of past participants dying. However, because incidents like these are rare, I never would have imagined we would arrive in Miami one student less.
I did not personally know Kurt Leswing, but I remembered his face on the ship, and I am sure he had the time of his life with Semester at Sea; he had accomplished much more in his lifetime than most students would have. To be honest, though, even though the ship community was greatly impacted by his death, most of the students who did not know him were not as saddened as they “should” be. It seemed that a couple of days after his death, ship life returned to normal.
I went to an informational regarding Kurt’s death and we discovered that there was some altercation regarding Kurt and a taxi driver, and after that, Kurt tried to wave down a taxi on the road. A car swerved to avoid him, but another car right behind the first car struck him. From what we were told, Kurt and the driver were both intoxicated; the level of which they were intoxicated was unknown. From the information stated to us, it was implied that he was by himself. Many of us wondered if the people he was with left him, or he went of by his own.
Besides these facts, thinking about “what ifs” is not going to change things, only make it worse. I feel the best way to deal with this experience is to realize the fact that we are vulnerable human beings and can die at any second; thus, we must not take our lives for granted, but, instead, take great care of it. A loss of life impacts everyone, especially loved ones. I would not want my parents and friends crying and hurting over my death; the thought of it pains my heart. I can't even imagine what Kurt's parents, twin brother, and friends went through when they discovered the news.
RIP Kurt Leswing.
Until Next Time,
Alan Shih at Sea