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TU Student Returns Home Safely From Japan

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COLUMBIA, Md. (WJZ)—A Howard County college student arrives from Japan after 48 hours in airports trying to get home.

Suzanne Collins explains the Towson senior’s mother is greatly relieved she’s here and safe.

Danielle Jacob is sad for the victims, the destruction and the nuclear threat. But if she had her way she would have stayed in Japan.

There are welcome home balloons and a cake. Mother and daughter are finally reunited. Danielle Jacob is a Towson University student studying since September at Tokyo International University. She was in class when the earthquake struck.

“We’d had earthquakes before, so it wasn’t a big deal,” Danielle Jacob said. “Then it just kept going and it got a lot harder. Floor shaking, desks moving back and forth. We grabbed all our stuff and ran out.”

The senior did get a static-filled call to her mother in Columbia, Howard County, saying “Earthquake. I’m safe.”

“I was crying, I was upset, I called my brothers and sister, woke everybody up with me,” said Cynthia Jacob, Danielle’s mother.

Cynthia Jacob pulled out her map of Japan as she watched news reports on the severe damage. She felt some relief because Tokyo was less affected. But worry grew as time passed.

“She was talking about the aftershock, how the house felt like it was swaying when she finally got back to the host family,” Cynthia Jacob said. “I wanted her home. It was upsetting.”

Danielle Jacob had hoped to complete her year and stay on, but there was too much disruption and Tokyo International canceled the program.

“They were doing rotating power outages to cool down the nuclear plant so power is out in some areas about six hours a day,” Danielle Jacob said.

Even though she completed the Japanese studies program, Danielle Jacob is confused as to whether she will get credit for current classes, have to pay back loans, or graduate on time.

“I’m home. It’s fine. It’s going to all work out,” Danielle Jacob said.

“She’s home. I’m happy,” said her mother.

Danielle Jacob says Japanese news reports about the radiation danger seemed less serious than U.S. reports.

She says she hopes to return to Japan to teach English after graduation.

As part of WJZ‘s Continuing Community Commitment, you can support disaster relief efforts to help those affected by the earthquake in Japan and the Pacific tsunami.  Text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation, visit RedCross.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS.

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