If you are planning on heading overseas for part of your studies, you’re probably really excited about experiencing a different place and a new culture. However, it is important to do what you can to stay safe. Travel always brings a bit of uncertainty, but knowing how to stay safe can be helpful. These are just a few tips that can help you enjoy your adventure abroad as much as possible.
Check for Travel Warnings and Alerts
Check out the U.S. Department of State’s website for travel warnings and alerts about various foreign countries. There is even a “Safe Traveler Program” you can sign up for so you can receive alerts about the country you are planning to stay in.
Use Public Transportation Safely
Using public transportation can be critical for getting around when studying in a foreign land. Make sure you only use licensed taxis, and ensure you are mindful of your surroundings when on buses and trains. Doing a little research before boarding public transit is also a good idea, no matter where you might be going.
Travel in Groups
If at all possible, try not to get out and explore too much by yourself, particularly in places that are outside of busy tourist areas. Instead, try to travel in groups with a few friends, since there is safety in numbers.
Be Aware of Pickpockets
Pick-pocketing is surprisingly a major problem in some areas. Protecting yourself is important, so make sure you carry your wallet or cash in your front pockets, not your back ones. Keeping your purse securely zipped and on your shoulder, or wearing a cross-body bag can be helpful as well. Wearing your backpack in the front might seem a bit silly, but it can help keep you safe from pick-pocketing as well.
Get Home Protection
If you live with your parents, you probably won’t have to worry about keeping your things safe while away, but if you live in the dorms or in your own apartment, you need to take these safety measures into account as well. Getting a storage locker for your things can be a good idea, just make sure you know who holds the keys while you’re away. You can also invest in a good home security, or ADT system to keep your apartment protected.
Carry a Phone
Your existing cell phone and service might not work in the country you are going to be studying in, but you shouldn’t travel without a phone if you can help it. Instead, consider buying an affordable smartphone with a cheap plan so you can keep it with you, even if you only use it for emergencies. Then, if you find yourself in a bad situation, it will be easier for you to call for help. Make sure you know what the local emergency numbers are, and consider programming them in your phone in case you need them.
Traveling abroad to study can be a lot of fun, but it can be a bit scary at first, particularly if you have not done a lot of international traveling. You should not let this prevent you from having a good time and learning a lot, however. Instead, make sure you follow these tips so you can help ensure you stay as safe as possible.
Eileen O’Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check out her Twitter @eileenoshanassy.