Studying abroad and this is your first time traveling? Then this safety tips for first-time travelers when you are an international study is a must-have guide for you.
Although traveling internationally to school is an ancient practice, the nerves experienced by a first-time traveler never go away.
There are so many concerns that one is faced with when one is travelling for the first time to study abroad.
And not to worry, your feelings are understood and valid. There are approximately 4.3million students studying abroad outside their home so you are not alone.
It is normal to be nervous about any first time experience, much more traveling to a totally different country to study.
Luckily, these safety tips will help you prepare for your travel as well as prepare mentally for what to expect when you get to the country.
Best Safety Tips for First Time International Students Who Are Studying Abroad
- Do a Comprehensive Research: It is expected that you already know all there is to know or at least, you have a comprehensive knowledge of the school you will be attending. However, most students neglect doing research about the city and country where they will be studying. Knowing about the school is as important as knowing about the country and city because you would be living there for the duration of your study. Even if you live on campus, you would still interact with the city and country. Research all you need to know; weather, diseases prevalent, crime rate, safe areas among others so you stand better equipped when you travel.
- Go for Medical Check-up: You can check online for any health issues you should know about in each country. However, a medical practitioner will be useful in giving you more comprehensive information. Luckily, getting some vaccinations is a prerequisite for traveling to certain countries. In spite of these, find out and take most (if not all) the vaccinations you need. Also, especially, if you have certain health issues, you should have your doctor stock you with most of the medications you usually take so you can properly take care of your health before you find your bearing and find another doctor when you travel.
- Get Jet Lag Out of the Way: It is possible to take up to a week before your body adjusts to an 8 hours time zone difference. So you need to put this into consideration. If possible, time your travel for about two weeks before serious work activity starts at school, so you can have time to get jet lag out of the way. However, if that is not possible, there are ways to get your body to adjust quicker. Having already done your research and know what time you would arrive at your destination, should help you plan your sleep. If you would get there at night, then try to stay awake during the flight and if it is the other way around, try to sleep during your flight, so your body starts getting adjusted. And when you get there, drink plenty of water, avoid naps as much as possible and sleep when the city sleeps. But all in all, give yourself time so you can mentally and emotionally prepare to face your studies.
- Stay Alert: Try to stay alert and stay aware of your environment, especially when you are in a crowd. Watch the environment and if things are not looking safe, then you should leave. You do not have to stay back in an environment that feels or looks unsafe. Trust and listen to your instincts to stay out of trouble.
- Watch Your Valuables: Try not to draw unnecessary attention to your valuables by flashing your wallet with large sums of money or your phone. It is usually to keep wallets and purse in your front pockets if you have to put it in a pocket. And if you are carrying a backpack or handbag, keep the zips closed and tilted to your side. Be careful of what is going on around you, especially if someone gets too close. As much as possible, stay away from large crowds and definitely stay away from chaos.
- Observe and Learn Your Environment: Keep a low profile while taking time to observe your environment when you first get there. Watch how things are done, including how the people dress and even talk. Some of these things you might have discovered while doing your research and some, you can find out by observing. If you don’t look different from the locals (race and complexion), then try to blend in as much as you can without drawing unnecessary attention to yourself. The first few weeks or even months is not the time to be a rebel or activist, it is to know the way of the people and acclimatize as much as possible.
- Prepare for Any Weather: During your research, you should find out the weather condition of the city, however, you should also take clothing that would fit all weather conditions because you just never know and it will save you from having to spend money to buy clothing to deal with certain conditions.
- Be Financially Wise: Try to spend wisely, especially if you are under a budget. Even if you aren’t and have more than enough, being stranded in a strange place is the last thing you want. Save properly and only spend only on necessary things, at least, until you find your way around or get a job (if your visa permits).
- Drink Responsibly: If you feel inclined to socialize, drink wisely and responsibly. Drink only with friends you trust. If you are alone, it is advisable to stay away from alcohol or if you must, then make it really minimal because alcohol lowers your inhibitions and you don’t want to be at the mercy of bad people in a new environment.
- Be Friendly: This might not seem like a safety tip but it is as important as the rest because your friendliness towards the locals might increase the chances of them protecting you from situations that could bring you harm. It is really unadvisable to scorn at their culture, keep an open mind and try to understand what seems unclear to you. People will naturally open up to you when they see you are genuinely interested in learning about them and they would be more likely on your side to protect you.
- Stay Positive and Have Fun: You are there to study, however, remember that education is not only done between the four walls of a classroom. Education can happen by learning about the culture and history of a people. So don’t go there, ready to hate the place. Even though the research you should do online is important to prepare you, sometimes, the media does not do a people justice, so try to keep a positive disposition, ready to enjoy your stay.
Traveling for the first time can be scary but with these safety tips, you are sure of having a positive first time experience.