- July, 19th
Research, Research, Research.
It is essential that before you head off to the country you have decided to study in you take the time to research it. This will ensure you are aware of cultural differences, local customs, traditions and laws. While locals and law enforcement might go a little easier on you being new to the country, its better to not draw that attention.
Don’t be an easy target
Avoid carrying a large amount of high value currency in your wallet and keep expensive mobile phones and jewellery out of sight. To often in London you see students walking around the streets with their £1200 iPhone on a stick out in front of them wearing a Rolex. This exposure makes you a prime target for pick pockets or moped thieves.
Keep a Low Profile
There is a saying, the nail that sticks out gets hit. When studying in a foreign county you want to try and avoid standing out as much as possible. This doesn’t mean hiding in your room but looking at the way you dress and act, adopt a similar style to students around you and avoid sharing too much information with strangers. This will help stop unwanted attention.
Learn Your Surroundings
Your research is unlikely to have covered local knowledge about the town or city you now find yourself in. However, this information is vital, speak to other students, advisors and locals to find out about areas you should avoid, bars/clubs to steer clear of and how transportation systems work etc.
Much like any student you want to get involved in the social activities, these usually involve drinking. Our advice is drink sensibly and stick with a group of friends. Alcohol will always distort your decision-making abilities, in a new country, with different surroundings it can be rather disorientating before adding alcohol to the mix, this can make your vulnerable to thieves or land you in trouble.
Keep in Contact
Being in a new country, on your own its easy for people to lose track of you. Tell a friend or room mate if you are heading off somewhere and how long you will be. Set up regular skype/facetime calls with parents just to check in and confirm you are still alright. Keep your mobile on you at all times, keep important numbers programmed into it and keep it charged. If anything should happen, a friend or family member will be able to raise a flag.
Just because you are in a different country, shouldn’t make you any less cautious. Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings. If you feel unsafe or even unsure about being in a location, take yourself out of it. Trust your instincts, if you are feeling unhappy with a situation move away from it.
Studying abroad should be an amazing experience and should be enjoyed. But following these steps will help you avoid trouble which might ruin your great time abroad.