What is the study abroad safety tips everyone should know?
Being in a foreign country has a lot of advantages. One of the most common reasons people chose to study in a foreign country is because it gives them an opportunity have a foreign experience while still increasing their education.
It is estimated that more than 40% of students are international students and due to the growing level of insecurities worldwide, studying abroad can be a nightmare if certain safety tips are not put in place.
If you acquaint yourself and apply the following study abroad safety tips for students, then you are on your way to having an enjoyable experience, which is what study abroad should be about.
Let’s explore some of the safety tips you should consider if you are studying in a foreign country.
Learn the Laws of the Host Country:
Even before you travel, research the country, state, and city you will be studying, so you can learn the laws. When you get there, befriend local students, so they can put you through as well, especially on unwritten laws that are equally important. The best way to keep a low profile and not draw attention to yourself is to keep the laws the land. The last thing you need is getting arrested or offending certain people out of ignorance. For females, especially, you should also learn if there are dressing rules you should know and make sure you follow them.
Try to Learn the Language and Environment:
Similar to the above, it is very advisable to learn the language and the general environment of the host countries. As mentioned above, there might be some unwritten rules that can be as important written and official laws and you should not flout them as well. Spend the few weeks after you get there trying to learn all you can. Some, you might have to ask but many, you would be able to find out by observing. So make a conscientious effort to learn the environment. Also, try to learn the language of the people; it will really come in handy. If you cannot learn it all, then at least, learn basic phrases and words. If you are lucky enough to study in a country whose language you are familiar with, that is great. But some countries have two official languages or one popular native language that you would need to speak to natives. Learning the language can also save you from dangerous situations if you can understand what is being said. You can find a list of language learning apps here
Keep Your Documents Safe:
For most countries, you do not need to carry your visa and passport every time you are out. If that is the case, then keep it in a safe place, locked in your suitcase or your locker in your hostel. Make do with your student ID and maybe a copy of your passport. Also, it is important to have photocopies of all your documents for when you need them. Make use of the original, only when it is necessary or requested.
Stay Alert and Keep Your Wallet:
Trust your guts and listen to it. If you are feeling uncomfortable in a particular place, leave. You do not have the luxury of taking certain kinds of risks that locals can take because they might be aware of escape routes that you are not privy too. Stay alert and drink reasonably. When you drink alcohol, your inhibitions are reduced. So while you should indeed have fun and socialize, be careful how you drink, especially when you are around people you don’t know or trust. If you are in a crowded environment, stay alert, especially as concerning your wallet and phone. It is usually advisable to put the phone and wallet in a front pocket especially in a crowded environment.
Travel in Groups:
There is strength in number. You might want to take inter-state or inter-country trips so you can learn other parts of the country. But be sure you do it with other students or friends. There is a lower chance of being mugged when you are in a group than when you are alone. And even in a group, avoid checking maps in public. Go into a nearby store to consult the map. Also, some programs require you to inform them of any side-trip. If your program requires this, please do well to inform them of your itinerary so they can know where you are. It makes it easy to keep you safe in case of any emergencies.
Stay Away from Protests:
Stay away from protests; leave that to the local students. Free speech is not allowed in every country and even at that, a lot can happen in a crowd and it can become dangerous. Keep your knack for fighting for human and civil rights for when you are back in your own country.
Health is wealth and your wealth is very important. Check if your program covers insurance for health. If it does, great and most actually do. But if it doesn’t, it is advisable to purchase travel and health insurance. Also, prepare for first aid by taking enough over-the-counter medications, especially for pain reliever and menstrual cramps (for females). Also, take along prescribed medications, especially if you have health issues you are managing. You might not find it readily in the host country or not quickly find your way to the nearest pharmacy or hospital. When you get to the host country, it is also important to find the location of the nearest hospital, just in case.
Use Only Marked Transport Vehicles:
Be careful of the kind of transport vehicles to board. Some countries allow unmarked vehicles for public transport but even at that, don’t take the risk and stick to marked vehicles. Also, negotiate the price before you start the journey so you don’t get ripped-off. To know actual prices, you can ask local students because the drivers can take advantage of the fact you are foreign. While Uber is registered and recognized in most countries, their drivers do not use marked vehicles and anybody can register to be a driver. So be careful with Uber as well and it just might be safer to stick to marked transport vehicles.
Spend judiciously because you don’t want to be stranded in a foreign country, that won’t be pretty. Avoid spending your money like you have your parents on the next street to bail you out. Understand that you are far from home and save as much as you can. If your visa allows work, then you can work to have extra income.
Plan for Emergencies:
Emergencies can happen anywhere and anytime, so you should plan for them. Learn the emergencies of the number of the country. Learn the address and phone number of your country’s embassy as well as the nearest hospital and use them when necessary.
Be prepared to have an adventure. There is no reason to travel all the way to study abroad and not have a beautiful experience.
Follow these study abroad safety tips to ensure that you have a great time while traveling and studying abroad.