After a long vacation of day dreaming, running around and almost losing your mind over admissions, visas and God knows what-not, you just can’t wait to begin your new life, isn’t it? The fun, the parties and the freedom you have always dreamt of is just a few days away, and we know you can’t stay still anymore.
While we expect nothing else from you after you have worked so hard to study abroad, we are here to caution you about the various threats, difficulties, and safety measures you ought to keep in mind as a student who has decided to embark on a journey of independence, which of course comes with its own price.
When you go to a country, make sure you are aware of the customs and the culture of that particular place. Learn about their dressing norms, what kind of clothes are viewed as acceptable, the gestures used and the meaning they convey, etc. Remember that while some gestures are acceptable and maybe even welcome in your country, it may not be the same case in others.
For e.g, in Paris, eye contact is considered rude and is generally not acceptable. Not only that, unnecessary eye contact with strangers is generally a call for trouble.
In Spain, it is customary to give a two slight pecks on the cheeks when you meet someone as a sign of good manners.
Basically, it is a good idea if you are well versed with the customs and manners of the place you plan to live in previously by some prior research. Make Google Baba your best friend!
Try to Fit In
When you travel to an unknown place, try to observe the locals and fit in the crowd as soon and as easily as you can. Remember that tourists are always easy to target and a young student may be an almost ideal target for any notorious people.
If you are going to a country where English is not the main or first language, it is advisable you have prior knowledge of the language of that area.
Also, while moving around, try to keep a map and rely mostly on your instincts to find your way. In case of help, it is advisable to ask families or women for directions.
Behavior, Instinct and Alertness
Your BIA is your secret mantra!
You must behave smartly, and judge people before getting too close to them. This is especially important if you are a female student. Do no divulge your personal details to people in the first or second meet, and also choose the people you wish to surround yourself with wisely.
Go with your instinct! If you do not like someone’s behavior or feel uncomfortable around someone, immediately back off. Make your feelings clear and do not be ashamed to be blunt, even if it leads to you having fewer friends. Sometimes, it is the smarter thing to do.
When you reach your destination, be alert and the first thing you must look for is the nearest police station and hospital. You must keep any numbers in handy, and make sure you take full advantage of the local security, the organizations for foreign students in you University and any help lines.
New to a place, being a boisterous or flashy is the last thing one would want to be. Your clothes, watches, accessories and jewellery should be adequate and not over the top, especially if you have gone to a country where levels of poverty, theft or danger are high.
It is also advisable to carry more of credit cards and less cash, if otherwise, you must be discrete about your money at all times.
For e.g, if you are paying for something, do not open your wallet so that the people around you can peep into it. It is always better to remove the money previously and kept separately so that it is handy.
While attending parties or going to discs, make sure you are accompanied by people you trust. Refrain from drinking, especially if you are one of those who can’t take drinking!
Avoid getting drunk or doing something stupid, and DO NOT ACCEPT DRINKS under any circumstances from anyone but the bartender.
Another point you must remember is to keep your address private, this is especially important for females. Do no invite or allow people into your home/apartment/room easily and you can wait to chill with your friends once you know them better.
All in all, a little common sense, responsibility and alertness are enough for you to take care of yourself.
Now that your parents are not going to always be around you for that, you can get into the habit of being responsible. Once you have figured out your life, you can relax around a bit and enjoy more, always with your eyes and eyes open.
Good luck and happy traveling!!