Safe Travels: The Safety Essentials When Studying Abroad

In recent years, there has been a spike in students choosing to explore the world during their studies; whether they head to universities in the US, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, or here in Bangalore. Over 270,000 Indian students decide to study abroad, and India hosts over 44,000 overseas students – according to the UNESCO statistics – and it’s understandable why. Studying abroad offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience to be independent, travel and explore new cultures. Yet, the incredible opportunity can bring with it some dangers if we don’t take the right precautions and keep aware. It is one of the most important things to consider before you embark on any kind of adventure but, by following these essential tips, you’ll be able to explore the landscapes, give back by volunteering, and make new life-long friends safe in the knowledge that you’re prepared and have got yourself covered.

Simple precautions to take before you arrive

At least a few weeks before you set out on your new adventure, there are just a couple of simple, but important things you need to sort out. Perhaps the most pressing thing to organize is health insurance. This should take precedence as, although it’s a quick and easy task, getting your paperwork and filling in forms can sometimes take longer than expected. In case the unfortunate happens while you’re abroad, health insurance gives you peace of mind that you’re covered. You’ll be able to avoid having to go through the stresses of figuring out the country’s health system and paying surprise fees by sorting this out in advance. Other precautions you can deal with before you leave include noting down any important addresses and contacts in case of an emergency, such as your accommodation and institution, and sharing these details with a few close emergency contacts. 

Staying aware when you’re there

The main thing to remember when you’re out and about abroad is to be cautious; it’s better to be safe than sorry, after all. Sticking with course friends, new colleagues or tour groups is a good idea, particularly when your surroundings aren’t so familiar to you yet. When you do venture out alone, then try to stay in well-lit areas with other people around unless you’re sure the area has security around or is a tourist spot. The key is to always keep your wits about you, and you should be fine. This includes drinking responsibly, only going to bars with trustworthy people, and saying no to any suspicious substance. These are all obvious tips that should be followed even when we’re on home soil, but the unfamiliarity of being abroad means it’s essential not to forget.

Staying safe when abroad doesn’t mean coddling yourself up in the security of your accommodation; it just means to be aware, and take the essential precautions. It only takes a few bits of pre-planning and erring on the side of caution when you’re out and about to ensure that you stay safe. Then, you can rest easier knowing that your amazing opportunity abroad will be stress-free and less risky. Safe travels!

Jackie Edwards

Date: Mar 12, 2018