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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 Isabel
     
    Isabel
    Junior Year Student
    Loyola Marymount University
    During my time abroad in various countries, I never felt threatened in regards to my safety. I...
    During my time abroad in various countries, I never felt threatened in regards to my safety. I would say the most important factor in ensuring your safety is to make smart decisions. For example, do not walk home alone after dark, especially if you are intoxicated. Traveling in numbers is one of the best safety precautions you can exercise. In addition, make sure to keep an eye on your belongings, pick-pocketing is quite common in foreign countries. Also, if you go out to clubs/bars make sure to keep an eye on your drink and how much you drink. You are more likely to make bad decisions when you are intoxicated. The best advice I have to make sure you have a safe experience while abroad is to use your common sense and intuition, if it does not feel right or safe, do not do it.
  • mentor picture Additional Mentor
     
    Additional Mentor
    Various students and administrators
    interviewed by the Center for Global Education


    Aya, Student
    This student talks about using your own judgement abroad, just like you would in the United States.
  • mentor picture Additional Mentor
     
    Additional Mentor
    Various students and administrators
    interviewed by the Center for Global Education


    Sara, Student
    Hear about one student’s feelings about it being safer abroad than in the United States.
  • mentor picture Additional Mentor
     
    Additional Mentor
    Various students and administrators
    interviewed by the Center for Global Education


    Glen, Student
    This student reflects on help from professors in support of your safety and health concerns.
  • 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 Kimberly
     
    Kimberly
    Senior Year Student
    Loyola Marymount University
    Before traveling abroad to China, I thought that I would constantly have to watch over my purse in...
    Before traveling abroad to China, I thought that I would constantly have to watch over my purse in fear of being pick-pocketed. However, I found that this was very rare. I learned that your safety all depends on your surroundings and the people you are with. Obviously, in crowded areas, you should pay more attention to your belongings. Also, make sure that you are constantly with someone, especially if you do not know the language. However, if you feel comfortable enough to walk by yourself, let someone else know where you are going, just to be safe. In China, I would take taxis and subways on my own and I felt completely safe. Just know your surroundings! Another piece of advice is to get a cell phone while abroad. This way, people will have easy access to you and you can call someone if you are ever in any danger.
  • 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.
  • mentor picture Janeth
     
    Janeth
    Junior Year Student
    Loyola Marymount University
    I studied in Madrid, Spain and I felt safe living and traveling throughout the country. I heard...
    I studied in Madrid, Spain and I felt safe living and traveling throughout the country. I heard lots of stories about people’s purses or wallets being stolen so I was always aware of my belongings but I never had a problem. Like most big cities, you always have to be aware of your surroundings and it is always a good idea to travel with another person in case of any trouble. I wandered around the city by myself occasionally, but it is always important to be ware of your surroundings and when in a crowded area make sure to hold on to your belongings.
 
 
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