After a long vacation of day dreaming, running around and
almost losing your mind over admissions, visas and God knows what-not, you just
can’t wait to begin your new life, isn’t it? The fun, the parties and the
freedom you have always dreamt of is just a few days away, and we know you
can’t stay still anymore.
While we expect nothing else from you after you have worked
so hard to study abroad, we are here to caution you about the various threats,
difficulties, and safety measures you ought to keep in mind as a student who
has decided to embark on a journey of independence, which of course comes with
its own price.
When you go to a country, make sure you are aware of the
customs and the culture of that particular place. Learn about their dressing
norms, what kind of clothes are viewed as acceptable, the gestures used and the
meaning they convey, etc. Remember that while some gestures are acceptable and
maybe even welcome in your country, it may not be the same case in others.
For e.g, in Paris,
eye contact is considered rude and is generally not acceptable. Not only that,
unnecessary eye contact with strangers is generally a call for trouble.
In Spain, it is customary to give a two
slight pecks on the cheeks when you meet someone as a sign of good manners.
Basically, it is a good idea if you are well versed with the
customs and manners of the place you plan to live in previously by some prior
research. Make Google Baba your best friend!
Try to Fit In
When you travel to an unknown place, try to observe the
locals and fit in the crowd as soon and as easily as you can. Remember that
tourists are always easy to target and a young student may be an almost ideal
target for any notorious people.
If you are going to a country where English is not the main
or first language, it is advisable you have prior knowledge of the language of
Also, while moving around, try to keep a map and rely mostly
on your instincts to find your way. In case of help, it is advisable to ask
families or women for directions.
Behavior, Instinct and Alertness
Your BIA is your secret mantra!
You must behave smartly, and judge people before getting too
close to them. This is especially important if you are a female student. Do no
divulge your personal details to people in the first or second meet, and also
choose the people you wish to surround yourself with wisely.
Go with your instinct! If you do not like someone’s behavior
or feel uncomfortable around someone, immediately back off. Make your feelings
clear and do not be ashamed to be blunt, even if it leads to you having fewer
friends. Sometimes, it is the smarter thing to do.
When you reach your destination, be alert and the first
thing you must look for is the nearest police station and hospital. You must
keep any numbers in handy, and make sure you take full advantage of the local
security, the organizations for foreign students in you University and any help
New to a place, being a boisterous or flashy is the last
thing one would want to be. Your clothes, watches, accessories and jewellery
should be adequate and not over the top, especially if you have gone to a
country where levels of poverty, theft or danger are high.
It is also advisable to carry more of credit cards and less
cash, if otherwise, you must be discrete about your money at all times.
For e.g, if you are
paying for something, do not open your wallet so that the people around you can
peep into it. It is always better to remove the money previously and kept
separately so that it is handy.
While attending parties or going to discs, make sure you are
accompanied by people you trust. Refrain from drinking, especially if you are
one of those who can’t take drinking!
Avoid getting drunk or doing something stupid, and DO NOT
ACCEPT DRINKS under any circumstances from anyone but the bartender.
Another point you must remember is to keep your address
private, this is especially important for females. Do no invite or allow people
into your home/apartment/room easily and you can wait to chill with your
friends once you know them better.
All in all, a little common sense, responsibility and
alertness are enough for you to take care of yourself.
Now that your parents are not going to always be around you
for that, you can get into the habit of being responsible. Once you have
figured out your life, you can relax around a bit and enjoy more, always with
your eyes and eyes open.
Good luck and happy traveling!!