Studying abroad generally brings a lot of positive experiences to students.
However, amid all the fun and enjoyment, one must still be vigilant and aware of possible dangers that one might face in another country.
Ireland is generally a safe country; in fact, it is the 12th safest country in the world, according to the 2020 Global Peace Index. In addition, it is a tolerant country and is known to be one of the friendliest nations in Europe. Despite this, it is still crucial to be careful. Foreigners, including tourists and foreign students, are usually targets of frauds, scams, and pickpocketing in Ireland.
Below are some safety tips for international students in Ireland.
Stay Informed About Different Types of Scams
Some of the most common types of scams targeting foreign students are immigration or rental accommodation. Sometimes, scammers would pose as the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service or the Garda National Immigration Bureau. They would message, call and even send a letter to students and demand money from them to pay for administrative purposes or processing. Often, the scammer will bait students by telling them that failure to comply the soonest would result in visa cancellation or deportation.
Some students experience accommodation scams. Accommodation scams target students looking for a house to rent while studying. Scammers would usually advertise house rentals online sending students photos of the house, and even fake keys in exchange for payment.
In Case of a Suspected Scam, Contact GARDA
The Irish Council for International Students (ICOS) advises international students to quickly report a scam to their local GARDA station. According to ICOS, students should do this even if they did not make any payment. Aside from GARDA, students can also contact their institution’s International office or ICOS for advice.
Other Ways to Stay Safe in Ireland
Aside from scams, foreign students may also be targets of pickpocketing or other types of crimes. To stay safe, here are other precautions you can follow.
Study your surroundings and get as much information as you can in your immediate city, such as areas you should avoid, transport vehicles you should take and how it works, and so on. You can sometimes get that information from a school handbook, or you can ask other students about it.
Keep a low profile. Being a foreigner itself already increases the chance of being noticed. However, try as much as possible to keep a low profile, such as not speaking too loudly in public places, or by integrating more into the local culture.
Always keep your valuables near you, especially when traveling. Do not flash your valuables such as your mobile phone or wallet while in public so you won’t be targeted by pickpockets. Ready your change before traveling to avoid showing your wallet in public.
Stay near your friends, when walking at night or traveling around. Try as much as possible to stay with a group than being alone.
Although these safety tips are sure to help you during your stay in Ireland, remember that following your guts, and common sense in different types of situations is still the best tip you can follow.
Want to learn more tips or know-how while studying abroad? Browse through MSM Unify’s articles to know more. To start, check out our article on 3 Useful Tips in Your First Year in College.