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7 Things students must know to stay safe abroad

Photo by Steven Lewis
Now that you've chosen your study abroad destination, it's time to make this dream a reality. Whether you want to study in Australia, Asia, Europe, North America, South America or Africa, preparing and staying informed is the key to staying safe abroad. Different risks are common for different locations, but there are some procedures which are relevant to all areas. So whether here's a list that will help you expect the best scenario but prepare for the worst:
1.    Know where you’re going.

  • One of the most important aspects of your safety abroad is staying informed and aware of possible risks and dangers in the country you’re moving to. Search for your destination on liable online sources, for example, government sites, such as the US Department of State, to find out about the safety requirements for your move your new destination.

2.    Stay healthy!

  • Before embarking on your trip, get insured! This is very important, because if anything happens to you, someone’s got your back. Don’t travel abroad is you haven’t sorted this out first.   
  • There are various health procedures necessary for different countries. Do your research before hand to get all the information you need.
  • Taking medications? Well, make sure that your doctor writes you a note so that you won’t get stopped over at the airport. Some countries have very strict legislation on different medicines.
  • Make sure to find out if there are any necessary vaccinations you need to take before going to the country you’re going to. The Centers for disease Control and prevention are a good source to check before buying a flight ticket to your destination.  

3.   Know how to reach out if necessary.

  • Get a sim card, so that if you are in need of help, you are able to reach out to someone.
  • Make sure you know where the consulate or the embassy of your country is, in case something goes wrong. Keep a card with the address and phone number of the closest consulate or embassy in English and in the local language so that you can point it out to anyone. - Most embassies have a 24/7 service in case of an emergency for you to contact. Make sure to know what they can and can’t do for you.

4.   Keep a copy of your documents and make sure they are up to date.

  • Make sure that you have all the requirements you need before moving abroad.
  • It’s best to have 3 copies of all your bureaucratic files – one for your family at your home country, one which you should carry with you at all times and the third should be stored in a safe place where you are staying.
  • Keep an electronic copy in case you lose any of them.
5.   Store money in more than one spot.

  • If you’re going to a tourist attraction, make sure to leave your valuables at home, and try not to stand out. Places with a lot of tourists usually also attract scammers and thieves. Now, don’t get paranoid, but just keep your possession close.
  • Leave some money at home, and in different pockets, so that if something does happen, you still have some left.
6.    Tell your family and friends where you are.

  • Yes, everyone knows that you’re independent and you usually don’t need to report to anyone where you are or what you are doing. While abroad, it’s good to talk to your family and friends, and inform them if you are planning a vacation somewhere or are going to wonder off on a hike in the woods or anything like that. That way, it will be easier for others to track you down, if necessary.

7.  Stay alert and listen to your inner voice.

  • Don’t wonder off into shady places. If you know about areas with a high crime rate, just don’t go there. It’s easier to prevent dangerous situations than to put out fires.
  • Know your route home, and keep your eyes out for crowds of people or anything suspicious crossing your way.

If you have any valuable advice for other students who want to study abroad,
feel free to leave a comment below.
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