Going abroad for studies comes with challenges. You’ll be living in a location you are unfamiliar with, and you must also consider the safety aspect. After all, you don’t know who you’ll live next to, whether the area you’ll move to has a high crime rate, or whether you can trust a stranger approaching you on the street.
Sure, studying abroad can be pretty fun, and it’s a great opportunity to make new friends and learn new things about another country. At the same time, you cannot deny the fact that you must take some measures that will help keep you safe.
Here are some tips to stay safe while studying abroad:
Always Have Your Valuables Close
Whether it’s your latest iPhone or a wallet full of money you have saved for your move abroad, make sure to not flaunt them in public. This applies both in areas where you feel safe or less safe places.
Usually, flashing valuables may draw the attention of the wrong people. Therefore, they will target you and try to steal your belongings – something that would not only affect your stay but even potentially endanger you.
Do Your Homework
Before choosing a certain destination for your studies, you should always do some thorough research. That means that you should look into the type of public transportation in the location, as well as potential scams, safe and unsafe areas, and so on.
There are travel advisories posted by the U.S. State Department, with frequent updates being made whenever necessary. But you can always look up additional information to make sure you know everything about the country you will be studying in.
Do Not Distance Yourself from the Group
Ideally, you should travel in a group with the other students. When you are by yourself, you will be an easier target to pickpocketers and other individuals with bad intentions. In groups, it will be harder for someone to have access to your belongings in any way.
You should always go into a store or kiosk if you want to check a GPS or map and never stop randomly in the street. And if possible, try to learn as much of the language of the country as you can – it will allow you to understand the locals better and even ask someone for help when needed.
Always Be Careful with Alcohol
When you are a student in a new country, you will slowly make friends and you will most likely want to go out and have fun. This is a great way to get to know each other better by socializing, but it will also let you explore the location and see what it has to offer.
Nevertheless, you should drink wisely. Alcohol can make you more vulnerable when faced with potential dangers, therefore you shouldn’t go overboard with it. Only drink around people you can trust, and don’t go too far.
Make Sure to Keep a Low Profile
If you are going to a country you have never been to before, you don’t know what to expect. That being said, you should always ensure you do not draw too much attention to yourself. Do your best to dress similarly to the locals, and don’t be too loud when talking in a public space. It will make it easier for you to integrate.
Inform Yourself About Local Customs and Laws
Laws in another country will be different than the ones in your home country. Whether we’re talking about laws surrounding DUI or general drug use, you should always know what the consequences of such actions are. If you break the law, the punishment may be more urgent and severe compared to what would happen if you did the same thing at home.
For example, there were cases of people from America going to China and supporting Tibetan independence, which led to them being arrested.
Another example is when you are going to another state which is Florida. Do your research and learn about the local laws and customs and do your best to avoid getting in trouble with the authorities. It’s better than having to deal with hiring a criminal defense lawyer and going to court later.
The Bottom Line
Studying in a new country comes with a lot of excitement, but also curiosity regarding the lifestyle of the locals and what opportunities the location brings. Still, you shouldn’t neglect your safety. Follow the tips in this article to keep yourself safe in the new country and stay out of trouble with the local authorities.