Study Abroad: 5 Personal Safety Tips

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When you study abroad you will have new and different experiences, but some things remain the same. While it’s good to be open-minded and adventuresome, you should never ignore what you have learned at home regarding your own safety, and should not compromise your personal or moral values at any point.

Here are five tips based on The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children “Know the Rules”, that will help ensuring safety while studying abroad:

 

1-     Don’t go out alone…

Think about it before you go. Remember that if you can avoid situations that put you at risk in the first place, you are already one step ahead. There is safety in numbers and this rule is not just for little kids, it applies to everyone. We are always safer if we take a friend with us.

 

 

2-     Always tell an adult where you are going…

Never go somewhere with someone you don’t know. Leave a telephone number and an address with your host family or roommate before you go. Letting someone know where you will be is a smart and responsible decision.

 

 

3-     It’s your body…

While studying abroad, you may face situations that put you in uncomfortable spots. You will have to make decisions for yourself and could be faced with peer pressure. Remember that you have the right to reject unwanted and inappropriate attention such as teasing, touching, and bullying. If something doesn’t feel right to you, it probably isn’t.

 

 

4-     Say NO if you feel threatened and tell a trusted adult…

Always listen to your own intuition and follow your best judgment. If your friends are making bad decisions, you don’t have to! Have the confidence to say “no” if something makes you uncomfortable. It is never too late to tell an adult if anything is bothering you. If someone – anyone –touches you in a way you don’t like, you have the right to say no. Don’t be afraid to make your feelings known.

 

 

5-     Be a friend to a friend…

If your friend tells you he or she is in trouble or being abused, listen; be patient and respectful. Take what your friend is telling you seriously and encourage him or her to seek advice from an adult you trust and report the abuser. A threat to a friend might be a danger to others as well, including you.

If you are ever in doubt about whether any behavior you have experienced or observed is appropriate, or have concern about your safety or that of a fellow friend, immediately share your concern with your host family or school counselor. 

 

What are some of your own safety tips? Share with us in the comments below.