Is this place safe enough? This question I often ask to myself when get into a new location even if it’s the next lane where I was never gone before. No I am not extra cautious but this habit is incarcerated since early days.
Contrary to popular belief that all foreign countries are rich and all people living there are good, there also found anti social elements. There also happen events like theft, robbery and eve teasing. Sick minded people are never confined to a certain geography but spread all over on the earth. Oftentimes, it’s we and our carelessness due to which untoward incidents happens.
Rule of thumb is, believe on everyone but do not believe even on yourself. Check and crosscheck. Do not go careless.
You are accepted abroad and that’s a good thing. I was unable to make it but you are ahead of me and I love that. To help in safe stay while pursuing a course abroad here is my self help safety guide.
Know the Place before you Go
Read a book about the country / city you intended to go and stay. Wikipedia is good for accessing information. You also can count on sites like about.com. Watch news, access to country and city specific websites and slowly you will feel like you are already staying there. Read a book about culture, people, weather and places. This way you will know a lot about the geography and won’t feel alien in the new land.
Get Access To Travel Warning
This is why it’s advisable to reach campus at least 1 week to 10 days in advance before last date for admission is over. Weather can change its mood anytime or a disease can break anytime. News media is best for this purpose. To know weather etc you can count on sites like weather.com, msn weather (my favorite) etc. Get in touch with local embassy or high commission website for latest updates. Covid-19 pandemic made the world standstill.
Safety Tips When You Land And After
Do believe in your instincts: In busy places like shopping, railway station, bus stop etc if you feel like something fishy, get out of the place as soon as you can. Do not befriend with complete strangers especially in dark.
Late Night Is Fun, Beware
Avoid going to dark place or walking alone on the lonely streets. Such places are sweet spots for criminals. If you must need to go out for some reason in late hours ask your friend to accompany you. Prefer going through busy streets and well lit areas. On a rainy/windy night I took to stroll, that was quite 1AM. It was just unimaginable and scary to learn just 500 mtr away from home few thieves block my way.
Know The Rules Of The Road
In some countries, vehicles drive on left side of the road. Watch carefully before you cross a road. Small mistake may prove very costly.
Hire Only Official Taxis
Generally drivers go on metered rates. In case if there is no meter installed, ask for fare before you ride else you will end up paying extra money.
Valuables like costly mobile phone, gold chain or ring are not the things to flash in busy places. You will attract unwanted attention.
Use ATM Carefully
Be watchful. Avoid ATM machines installed in lonely places. Preferably draw money during day. Do not flash too much cash in your wallet.
Know The Travel Routes And Transport System
Public transport is good for safety. Also it’s cost effective. Use google map to find the routs and means of transport. Or buy a printed roadmap. Know the locations and methods of transport preferably cheap.
Stay Like Ordinary
Do not showoff from dress or gesture etc. Stay simple. Wear a dress common in your new geography. No you do not need to hide yourself. Simplicity is the best tool to gel well with locals.
Do Not Be Racist
Perhaps guys standing next to you are passing racial comments. Do not be like them. Slip away from the place or ignore. Do not engage in a brawl. Racism is not so common but not uncommon either.
Social Media is good for meeting like minded people. Make connections from students who understand your local language. They will prove helpful in introducing you to the new campus, city and culture.
Read Local News
This is the best way to understand local people, culture, food etc. Also through local news you will know about many fun activities. Weekends are for entertainment, right?
PASSPORT IS EVERYTHING
Do not handover your passport to any suspicious person. In case of a lost report immediately reach out to your country’s high commission / embassy for necessary help.
Say No To Crowd
I lost my first salary in a city bus. Do not go in overcrowded places. If caught in one such situation try to escape as soon as possible.
Know the rules of road before pressing on the accelerator.
No Over Drinking
Drinking is bad for health and pocket both. But if you want to enjoy on your share of fun do not over drink. That could prove a costly mistake. After all nobody knows you in foreign land. Drunken men and women are sweet target for thieves.
Remain In Touch
While going out beyond schedule at least tell a friend or message a family member.