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Mentor Advice

Question

How safe did you feel in the countries that you studied abroad in, especially if you studied abroad in a developing country?

9 Replies from Mentors

  • mentor picture Dawn Anderson
     
    Dawn Anderson
    Housemaster at MIT and a professional photographer
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    I studied in Guatemala,and felt safe enough to travel the around country with friends. A portion...
    I studied in Guatemala,and felt safe enough to travel the around country with friends. A portion of that travel was alone and with a hired guide since I was conducting research. Since I stayed with a host family and was told what to look out for, how to pack and travel and what to expect, I felt safe. I experienced some challenging situations in my travels but the key is to be respectful of local people and their customs, read travel guides that discuss regional precautions, make copies of important documents and credit cards, don't travel with the originals if not required, and know not to stick out (for example: showing too much skin in a country that is conservative or walking around with expensive looking jewelry), etc. The goal is to try to blend in as much as possible and look like you are not new to the area.
  • mentor picture Emily Le
     
    Emily Le
    Doctoral Student, previously International Programs Counselor
    UCLA
    I felt very safe. My program was very small so we had a lot of support and looked after one...
    I felt very safe. My program was very small so we had a lot of support and looked after one another. I used my common sense and tried to avoid any situation which could jeopardize my safety. I generally tried to avoid large crowds of people and usually traveled with my friends. Overall, my experience abroad was great and I always felt very safe wherever I was traveling.
  • mentor picture Christa Sanders
     
    Christa Sanders
    Associate Director NYU in Ghana
    New York University
    I studied in both Europe and South America and, honestly, felt safe in both places. In my view,...
    I studied in both Europe and South America and, honestly, felt safe in both places. In my view, safety and security issues are chiefly the responsibility of the student and program. Whether in the developing or developed world, students must familiarize themselves with the local culture and societal norms, not take risks unnecessarily and be accountable for their actions. Students must be aware of their surroundings at all times and be proactive when it comes to personal security by following general security tips (i.e. not walking alone at night but in groups, making oneself less visible/”flashy”, locking doors and placing valuables in safes, etc.) Programs must provide security measures or tips and helps students understand the cultural do’s and don’ts as well as general safety precautions abroad. A student should view safety in the same light whether they are in city such as Manhattan or Ghana’s capital, Accra.
 
 
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