The basics
Study abroad : Once you arrive

Safety tips for girls studying abroad

Jessica from The Abroad Guide in America offers some safety tips for female students when socialising in another country...

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Study abroad is without a doubt one of the best experiences that a college student will go through in their lifetime. With more freedom over your study schedule and countries where the clubs don't even open till 1am, it's easy to only think about the fun side of study abroad. But just like at home, us girls have to take some precautions to make sure that we (and our belongings) stay safe during our time abroad.

 

Blend in with the locals

I'm all about being yourself, but part of the study abroad experience is submersing yourself in the culture of the places you visit. Dressing and acting like the locals will not only help you do that but will also help you to not stand out as a tourist or a "rich American". This will decrease your chances of being a target for thieves.

 

Never, EVER walk alone at night

I don't care how much a cab costs. Or that you've walked home by yourself before and have never had a problem. That's what everyone says until they DO have a problem! Female study abroad students that stumble out of bars and clubs and head off on their own are the number one target for not only thieves but others who plan on doing more than just seatling your iPhone. Plan ahead of time and know how you'll be getting home before you even go out.

 

Protect your belongings

Part of staying safe while studying abroad is making sure you're never without a way to contact someone or to get money if needed. So if your handbag gets stolen, it will be fairly difficult to do both of those things. Take precautions before traveling by purchasing a lock to use on hostel lockers and a money belt to use anytime that you'll be walking around with your cards or cash. As for your more expensive belongings, here are a few tips on how to protect your valuables while traveling.

 

Keep your drink safe

They've been telling us girls this since we learned what alcohol was-- never put your drink down or let it out of your sight. There is so much truth to this statement, so follow it! Whether you're at a house party or out at the bar, keep that drink right next to you and never accept a drink that you haven't seen being poured yourself. However in general, don’t feel like you have to drink alcohol in order to socialize; it might take a few weeks to get accustomed to the social culture in a new country but there will always be activities and socializing options for those who don’t want to drink to have a good time.

 

Know the local laws

Many countries outside of the US don't have such a thing as an open container law (i.e. openly consuming alcohol in the street), but don't just assume that every country doesn't. The last thing you need while you're abroad is to be ticketed or arrested. Make sure you know the laws of your host country well, and when you travel, ask at the front desk of your accommodations if there is anything you should know about the legal system in that city.

 

How do you plan on staying safe while you're studying abroad? Be safe!

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About Author

Jess is the Editor-in-Chief of The Abroad Guide. After studying abroad in Belgium during her junior year of college, she caught the travel bug. Her experiences include volunteering in Nicaragua, backpacking through Europe, and a year-long adventure in Italy-- and she’s now settled down in London. Follow The Abroad Guide on Facebook or Twitter for more on how to make the most of your study abroad experience.