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5 ways to stay safe when studying abroad

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These five easy tips can help keep you safe while studying internationally. Source: shutterstock.com

Studying internationally is an exciting chance to meet new people, experience a new culture and make lifelong memories. While there is lots of fun to be had, it’s important to remember to stay safe on campus during your adventure.

Chances are, nothing bad is going to happen. If you keep your wits about you and remember these five tips to help you stay safe, the likelihood is you will have a fun and trouble-free study experience.

1) Know your campus and city

Knowing your college is essential to staying safe. Is there a dark alley where you can easily be cornered? Or a place where hooligans often hang out? By knowing where potential dangers are, you can make sure you only visit the safest parts of the campus.

It’s also a good idea to know your way around the campus. This way, you won’t need to have your phone in your hand as you are walking, allowing you to fully concentrate on your surroundings. Looking lost or having your phone on show can make you vulnerable to robberies, so make sure to know where you are going before setting off.

2) Always lock your room

At home, you wouldn’t leave your front door open. So, at university, you shouldn’t leave your bedroom door open. Think about it, all your valuables, memories and possessions are in there. Do your best to keep your things safe by always locking your bedroom door when you leave.

When you first arrive, you don’t know much – if anything – about the people living with you. They most likely will turn out to be your new best friends, but why take the chance? An extra two seconds locking your door can save you a lot of stress and devastation.

If you live on the ground floor, or your window can be easily accessed, make sure always to lock your windows and don’t leave valuables on show. Leaving your possessions on display can put you at risk of people breaking through the window to get the laptop you forgot to hide.

3) Find out where security services are

Most universities have a dedicated security department, who are always on hand to help you. If you notice anything suspicious, feel threatened or even just forget your room key, security services can help give you advice, escort you across campus or call the police if something serious has happened.

Essentially, they are your lifeline for any safety-related issue. They will be specially trained to deal with a whole range of issues, so knowing where they are located and how to get there is a good idea when you are studying abroad.

4) Carry a rape alarm and pepper spray (if legal)

You can also take steps to prepare yourself in case something does go wrong. Carrying a rape alarm is a good idea when walking around campus alone, whether you are at risk of rape or not. Even if you feel threatened or are attacked, the loud alarm is an effective way to draw attention the situation and make the suspect flee.

Pepper spray is an excellent way to defend yourself if someone is attacking you, and bides you some time to escape – but make sure it is legal where you are studying. It is legal in most US states, but elsewhere in the world, it can be classed as illegal.

5) Take self-defense classes

By learning self-defense, you can learn how to get yourself out of real-life situations. From chokeholds to flipping people five times heavier than you, you can learn techniques to protect yourself from dangerous people.

Chances are, you will never need actually to use your new moves, but it can be reassuring to know you can break someone’s wrist grab with a single strike, and it is a fun way to get fit too. You don’t have to be super strong to do self-defense as many of them teach you how to use someone’s strength to your advantage, but the classes will definitely get you sweating!

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