4 Replies from Mentors
Rae RaeSenior Year StudentLoyola Marymount UniversityI did feel threatened in one situation in Italy. I feel that men in some European countries can be much more aggressive than Americans. It was not uncommon to walk down the street and have many cars honk at you or have complete strangers invade your personal space. For the most part, this behavior is merely annoying rather than threatening, but I would never walk anywhere alone, especially if you are a young woman. Use the same common sense as you would at home. Always stay alert, travel in groups and in well-lit areas, and ignore situations if confronted. In places where cultural misconceptions may occur, it is better to walk away than to get involved in an escalating conflict.
DestineeJunior Year StudentUniversity of California, Los AngelesThere were a few times when I felt threatened while I was in Italy. Men will stare, say things to you and even invade your personal space. Occasionally my female friends and I were harassed on the crowded buses after soccer games. I would tell the men to stop both in English and Italian, with varied success. My friends and I would usually leave the bus and wait for the next one. Some Italian men take advantage of the fact that you are an American girl studying in their country and they think you will be too afraid to tell them to stop. It’s important to stick up for yourself and remove yourself from any potentially dangerous situations.
Emily LeDoctoral Student, previously International Programs CounselorUCLAI never really felt threatened. I have been in situations where I was harassed because I was a woman. In those situations, I would just ignore the offender and walk away. It is always best to avoid getting into an argument or confrontation while abroad since you won’t always understand the cultural impact in certain situations.
KimberlySenior Year StudentLoyola Marymount UniversityNo. I never felt threatened because I was a woman. Everyone there was very respectful and they did not treat you differently because you were a certain gender.