Studying abroad brings in great opportunities to students. Not only are students exposed to new learnings and cultures, but they are also exposed to new experiences and people. However, as a foreigner living in a foreign country, there will always be some risks.

In fact, foreigners are usually targets for scams and pickpocketing. Although danger or security is relative and varies between countries, it is always wise to stay vigilant and follow some safety tips to avoid problems and protect oneself.  

List Useful Emergency Numbers

Memorize or list emergency numbers including the country’s national emergency hotline, in the US, its 911. Most of the time, a country’s emergency hotline can connect you to various services including police assistance and hospital assistance that you need in case of emergency. Aside from the national emergency hotline, include the number for your local city’s police, traffic police, ambulance, fire, coast guard if applicable, poison control, water, and power company, your friend, roommate, and landlord’s number, your institution’s emergency number, and international department number. 

Plan Your Route and Research Your Destination When You Travel

Another safety tip you can do is to plan your route and research your destination as part of your preparation when you travel. Planning your route and your travel schedule will lessen the chances of you getting lost. To know more about your travel destination, check advisories both from your home country and your host country, and check reviews online and listen to the news, to know if it is safe to visit. Planning your route can also be useful during your daily trips, like checking the bus or train schedule to avoid getting late, especially at night. 

Travel with Friends 

Although backpacking or traveling alone is becoming popular with a lot of people these days, you should still avoid it and as much as possible travel with friends and avoid hitchhiking. One, you are a foreigner staying in another country making you a more likely target for scams of pickpocketing. And two, most of those backpackers are already seasoned travelers or are themselves traveling with other people. Remember, there’s safety in numbers.

Avoid Walking Alone at Night

As much as possible, avoid walking at night. In case it is not avoidable, only walk on streets that are well-lit and with other people around. Moreover, avoid using your earphones to be aware of your surroundings and to stay alert.

Do Not Carry Large Amounts of Money When You Travel

Another reminder when you travel is to not bring wads of money. Instead, bring some money, and your ATM or credit card. Most cities have their own numbers of ATM machines you can just use to withdraw money when you need it. To make it more convenient, you can also use your credit card to pay for various services. Most of the time VISA and Mastercard are widely accepted in many countries.  

Prepare for Emergencies and Know Your Campus’ Emergency and Security Protocols

Prepare for emergency and make physical and digital copies of your crucial documents: 

  1. Passport
  2. Study permit
  3. Work permit 
  4. Visa 
  5. Health insurance

Moreover, separate them from your original copies. 

To increase your safety, learn about your campus and city’s emergency and security protocols in case of situations such as fire, earthquake, flooding, typhoon, or human-induced disasters. Remember, during those situations, an immediate response is a must for everyone’s safety.

Aside from safety tips, there are other information international students should be aware of to ensure they have a wonderful experience abroad. To start, check out MSM Unify’s article on International Students: Tips for Study Abroad.

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