A period of overseas study can be among the best and most memorable experiences of your life! But as anyone will agree, there are many challenges that you will face when you study abroad, and we’ve put together some tips to help you stay safe!
Pick the right accommodation
When you are scouting for a place to stay, the location should be the most important factor and not the price. Quite often cheap accommodation will be in surroundings that are unsafe, and could be very far from your college. Look for a location that is an easy commute, and where the surroundings seem to be safe and friendly. The farther away you stay, the more you will have to spend on travel… which will do away with any savings you may get on the rental costs.
Also keep in mind that you may have to go to work early and return late, depending on the timings of your shifts, and you should not have to walk through dark and dangerous areas to get home! The location will determine the type of neighbours you will have and it’s always nice to live in a friendly and welcoming community. Do check updated online resources and make the right decision. Even if you spend a bit more on the rent, it’s worth having a short commute and a peaceful neighbourhood.
Learn the local language
You should always learn some phrases in the local language as unless you are in an English-speaking country, everyone may not speak English. Street signboards or bus destination boards may not always be in English, and you can easily get lost. Communication is very important and you will also be able to get around the city with ease if you know local phrases. You will also come across as a friendly person and people will like to get to know you if you try to speak in their language. Especially in times of emergency, you will find it very difficult if you are not understood!
Wear the right clothing
Always be dressed for the weather, and in clothes that are appropriate for your host country. Short skirts, sleeves tops and shorts are not suitable for some countries, so you should look around you and try to blend in with the other students. Carry the minimum amount of clothing as you may need to move around a lot during your practical training; even otherwise, it’s not easy to look after a large wardrobe! It’s a good idea to buy local clothes rather than bring a suitcase full of clothes that may not be appropriate for your host country. Try not to look like a tourist.
Be alert at all times
Be aware of your surroundings at all times, and try to move around in a group— it’s always a bad idea to walk through unfamiliar areas alone. Do not wear flashy clothes or expensive jewellery, and keep your money and passport in an inside pocket at all times. Be cautious when you walk on the road and heed the traffic around you, especially if the drivers use an unfamiliar side of the road. Be very careful when you cross the road as the rules may be different from what you are used to. If you are partying with friends, stay sober. Be alert all the time and if you notice any untoward or alarming activity, do not hesitate to seek help.
We hope these tips will help you to fully enjoy your stay, make the most of your educational opportunities, and make new friends that will last a lifetime. If you have any more suggestions for other students, do write them down in the comments below!