Tips for Safe Living Abroad as an International Student

Study abroad is an exciting experience for international students. Traveling to another country can give you better access to education and career.

However, even studying abroad can be intimidating. Moving to a new country with a different language and customs may be overwhelming.

When you’re in a new and unfamiliar place, safety is often a top priority. In terms of precautions, you should feel ready before leaving. Here are some ways for you as an international student to stay safe abroad: 

Be Vigilant

One of the simplest things you can do as an international student to keep yourself safe is to stay aware of your surroundings. Familiarize yourself with the route and surrounding environment as best as possible.

Double check the school where you are going to study before deciding to go, most likely the school has a security system to keep students safe while on the school premises. As an international student, you should also have more information about studying the surrounding environment.

When going for a walk, it’s best not to use headphones to stay safe. Avoid areas that you don’t know or that are poorly lit at night, and as much as possible don’t walk alone, take your friends with you.

Ask friends, host family or people who know the area you are going to for recommendations about the safest route. So you can still inform your friends or host family about your location.

Avoiding Fraud

The rise of fraud that takes advantage of vulnerable communities such as international students is commonplace, so you must always be careful of the people around you and do not carelessly provide personal information to other people.

When at a restaurant or shop, it’s best to use cash to pay, keep your credit or debit card as safe as possible, don’t give your credit or debit card to anyone, and avoid giving banking or credit card information to anyone calling from someone you don’t know. known.

Telephone scams are quite common. Be wary of anyone calling you, such as a call from the Canada Revenue Agency, who usually threatens or demands immediate payment via electronic transfer, bitcoin, or gift cards. If necessary, it’s best to just hang up and contact the genuine organization via a valid website.

Be careful when choosing a university or college, to avoid ” diploma mills ” organizations. The organization claims that they offer real degrees, without requiring academic achievements or studies. Look for a recruiter with a good reputation, it can help you avoid academic fraud and choose an accredited institution.

With increasing reports of student housing fraud, it can be quite difficult to find decent and affordable student housing, so you need to be careful when looking for a place to live.

If you search for rentals online, Google Reverse Image Search will tell you if some images were obtained from other posts or websites. It’s best to ask someone you trust to look at the apartment in person, such as a reputable rental agent.

There are several red flags that international students should be aware of. For example, when you buy an item at a price below the price of a similar item, it is most likely a scam. If the land seller asks for money before any agreement is signed, it is likely fraud.

As an international student, it is important to know your rights as a renter. These rights may vary, so check local regulations to find out what information and deposits the rental owner may require. For example, in Ontario, rental owners may not require a damage deposit.

Safety at Social Events/Festivals

College is a place to meet new people and make memories. There are many opportunities for you as an international student to socialize. However, you still have to be careful, because even social events have the opportunity to get into dangerous situations.

Before you decide to drink or go to the local bar, confirm the legal drinking age, as each region is different. You will be asked to show at least one ID, but in different places, you may be asked to show two IDs.

You have to plan how you will get home. Whatever you do, do not drink alcohol while driving. It is also unsafe to accept rides from strangers, except for taxis and leading ride-sharing apps.

All students need to comply with the regulations, even more so for international students. Using illegal drugs or drinking in public can result in deportation.

Safe Transportation

Transportation can vary slightly from place to place. International students can stay safe by reviewing local bus or train schedules.

There are many apps you can use to check local schedules and find routes. The Transit app is a great example of an app that offers easy public transit information for over 200 cities. Many public transit systems will also offer their own apps or websites.

Sitting near the driver can provide safety to students if an incident occurs. Many transit systems also offer special services for people traveling at night. Don’t be afraid and hesitate to ask the bus driver whether he can stop at your destination at night

Taxis are also a safe means of transportation, although they are more expensive. You can save the phone numbers of local taxi companies.

Ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft are popular and more affordable taxi alternatives in many cities. The company has several security features. When you use a ride-sharing app, always make sure to check the vehicle’s license plate number, and wait until the driver confirms your name before getting in.

Many colleges and universities implement safe travel or walking programs on campus. Noting the pick-up location and phone number of any program will allow you to use this service while on campus at night.

Stay Safe at Home

There are some simple things international students can do to stay safe where you live.

First, don’t let people you don’t know into the dorm or apartment where you live. Lock doors and windows at all times even if you are in a dorm or apartment.

Getting to know your dorm or apartment neighbors can help you spot unknown guests, and at least have someone to call if something happens.

What You Need to Know About Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking is a security concern that many international students have. Here are some things international students can look out for in personal or professional contacts:

  • Offering opportunities that feel unrealistic, such as very high salaries for easy work.
  • Demand a response to their offer immediately, or pressure you to make a decision.
  • Denying your contact with family or friends.
  • Tries to cut you off from your financial resources.
  • Asking you to do things you don’t like.
  • Threatening violence or responding aggressively.

If you feel you are in danger, it is best to leave the area or notify a trusted contact as soon as possible, even if it feels rude. As a precaution, you may want to develop a safe word that you can communicate over the phone to indicate that you are not safe.

Keep all important documentation and identification. Entrepreneurs and partners have no right to claim ownership of these items. Make copies of documents or provide copies of any identification and give them to family members.

International students must ensure that they always have access to money and lines of communication. Carrying a prepaid calling card can be a good backup plan.

Accessing Emergency Security Systems.

Before you leave for your destination, make sure to look for the emergency number for that area. The emergency number in Canada and the United States is 911, while in the UK it is 999.

Calling the local emergency number will give you access to police, fire services, and ambulance services. In many areas, translation may be available in a language you understand if you are not fluent in English..

Universities and colleges often have many services available to international students. From counseling to medical clinics, your school likely has resources you can take advantage of.

Trust your gut feeling

Studying abroad is a fun and rewarding experience. Because schools around the world open up countless educational and career opportunities.

Traveling alone and living in a new place always carries potential risks. You can keep yourself safe abroad by preparing yourself, trusting your instincts, and using available resources.

By planning ahead, you can feel secure in your decision to study internationally, and allow more time for new experiences.

Leave a comment