STUDY ABROAD SAFETY TIPS
We all know that studying abroad can be a really fun experience and you should do everything you can to make the most of your time abroad. However, as well as having lots of fun you need to be aware of some of the dangers that you can encounter when you plan to study abroad.
This article is going to provide you firstly with some links and tips on how to find out more information about the country you are going to be traveling to, and then we will give you some hints and tips on how to stay safe and some general rules you should follow.
Travel Warnings and Country Information
Before you depart you should try and gather as much information as you can about current travel warnings that are in place to specific countries. It is recommended that you do not travel to countries on these lists. You should also be aware that most insurance companies will void any coverage you have if you are injured or hurt in countries that are on these lists. The best way to find what the current travel warnings are is to visit:
- Current US Travel Warnings
- Current UK Travel Warnings
As well as general country travel warnings it is good to get as much information about the country you are traveling to such as traditions, procedures on how to do things and much more. To find country specific information we recommend you visit:
- US State Department Country Information Sheets
- UK Country Information Sheets
We also recommend using resources such as Google and Wikipedia which will provide you with more specific country information.
In Country Safety Tips
Hopefully before you have left you would have studied up and learnt as much about your adopted country before you have left so this will put you in good stead for when you are there as you will have a better knowledge of customs and traditions.
You should also take care to follow some very simple rules so that you do not bring unwanted trouble to you:
Stay Alert and Trust your Instincts
Its always good to be alert and aware of what is going on around you. If you are in a busy market or square, just make sure you are aware of the people and what is going on around you and if you feel uneasy or are not sure about something get out and away from the place. At the end of the day you should trust your instincts and if you are not happy about something move away and to an area that you feel more comfortable.
Keep Valuables Close to you
Just like when you are home, do not flash your wallet with lots of money in it or your brand new mobile phone around. This will only draw attention to yourself and make you are target for pickpockets
Keep a Low Profile
As you are a foreigner in the country you are traveling to try to keep a low profile as much as possible. That said, this does not mean you have to hide away but try not to broadcast the fact you are a foreigner. For example try not to talk too loudly in open spaces and try to dress a little more like others from your host country, this will help your integration and will stop unwanted attention being draw to you.
Learn Your Surroundings
Similar to gathering information about the country you will be visiting, it is also equally important to get as much information about your host town or city. This information will most likely come from your Study Abroad Office but you can also ask past students about this. You want to learn things like what areas you should avoid, how the public transportation system works, etc…
At some point you will want to socialize and this often leads to drinking. The golden rule with drinking is to drink sensibly and among friends who you trust. Alcohol lowers your inhibitions and sense of judgement which can make you very vulnerable to thieves and trouble – so the advice is drink sensibly or not at all!
Keep in Contact
Probably one of the most important rules is to keep in contact with people and let somebody know where you are going. Nowadays it is relatively cheap to have a mobile phone and this will make it easy for people to contact you should they need to. Also, if you are sharing an apartment with someone let them know if you are going out and where – that way if anything happens someone knows where you went.
At the end of the day you want your study abroad experience to be fun and with little or no hassle and for most of the time it will be, but by making yourself aware of the hazards you can avoid any trouble and have a great time abroad!
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