Study abroad programs offer a genuinely unique opportunity for college students to explore the world in a somewhat carefree and protected environment. They are invited to spend their days learning, traveling and exploring a foreign culture and trying things they have never tried before.
Every year, college students report muggings, kidnappings, and injuries on their study abroad programs. We have compiled a short list of warnings, not to scare you about your study abroad program, but rather to help you remember to always use caution when traveling in a foreign country.
- Never Go Out Alone
Never go out alone, at night or by day. If something happens to you while you are participating in your study abroad program, you will have no way of alerting your study abroad advisor of your problems. Especially in foreign towns, you may also become lost or disoriented if you go out at night. On top of all that, imagine if you are one of the victims of a purse or wallet snatching – you may have no way of paying to get home. Always go out in pairs in order to stay safe while studying abroad.
- Stand Away From The Curb
Sadly, many students who participate in study abroad programs in large cities such as London, Paris, and Rome get injured and even killed by buses. European cities, more than most American cities, are filled with buses that take up the small city streets. Every year, several American students traveling abroad are struck down by mirrors, which protrude from the buses by several feet so that the drivers can observe traffic behind the bus. Stand back. Don’t let injury or death by bus mirror happen to you on your study abroad program.
- Never Go Home With A Stranger
Kidnapping American students who are participating in a study abroad program is more common than you would think. If you are studying abroad and are approached by a stranger offering to give you a lift or show you another part of the country, use common sense: don’t get into the car with a stranger. For yearly statistics on study abroad students that have been kidnapped on their study abroad programs, consult the American consulate in each country. You would be amazed.
- Be Careful In Amsterdam
Dozens of students visit Amsterdam on their study abroad trips to Europe. While the city holds a wealth of opportunity and excitement, many students get carried away and experiment with drugs that they have never tried before, as drugs are illegal in the US. If you choose to go to Amsterdam, remember that you are still an American citizen and can face trouble at home if you get involved in anything too scandalous.
Always go with a friend and refrain from overindulging in drugs on your study abroad program. Choose, instead, to visit Van Gogh’s museum or wander the famously designed city streets.
- Never Go Out With Your Passport On You
Every semester, students report that they took their passports out to a bar in their purse and lost it. If you are a student on a study abroad program and lose your passport, you run the risk of having to go through a lot of trouble and expense to obtain a new passport from the Embassy. While you are without your passport, you cannot travel to another country while in Europe, which severely limits your chances of seeing everything you possibly can while in Europe. Furthermore, you run the risk of having a stolen identity.
Always keep your passport is a secure location – either in a safe or hidden in your room.
- Watch Your Drink
As in America, predators will often try to slip rufies or other narcotic drugs into your drink so that you will pass out so that they can take advantage of you. Aside from robbery and kidnapping, you should be aware of rape and other bodily harm that can be inflicted on you while you are unconscious. Always be vigilant when drinking on your study abroad.
- Careful With Alcohol
Many AmAlcoholcollege students studying abroad are able to drink in bars and pubs for the first time. Often, they get carried away and have not learned their limits. Be careful when you drink out, as too much alcohol consumption can lead to health problems, including alcohol poisoning and liver issues, and you can become disoriented and lost. Always go out with friends so that you have someone to keep an eye on you when you drink. And remember: moderation is key, particularly if you are new to the drinking scene.
For more information and for specific travel warnings, consult the local consulate or US Embassy.