With luxury student accommodation across Europe, safety while studying abroad is of course something that is very important to us here at Collegiate ES. Your decision to move to another country for your degree course or at least part of it, may well have impressed your peers and is a great move, but your loved ones are likely to be at least a little bit worried. A new country means new customs and a whole new culture for you to embrace and failure to do your research can make you a little bit vulnerable.
Fear not though, as this is an experience that the vast majority of students negotiate very successfully and by reading our guide to keeping safe abroad, you can ensure you come back from your time abroad having taken everything you possible can from it, and safely.
Things to know before you go
As with most things in life, the key to making the most out of your time studying abroad is ensuring you are prepared. A mantra of “know before you go” is pretty prudent as leaving things to the last minute or even heading to your destination with no prior knowledge of what you might expect is dangerous.
You shouldn’t really treat studying abroad any differently to a holiday, gap year or backpacking in terms of preparation as there are laws, documentation and customs you need to familiarise yourself with. Some key things you should think about when you are abroad are:
- The FCO’s travel advice for your respective country
- Where your nearest embassy or consulate is
- Are you insured?
- Do you have a medical condition. If so, will you have access to your prescription?
- Is your VISA valid?
- Is your passport valid and are contact details up to date?
- Do you have a reserve of cash, should you lose your cards?
- Invest in a travel guide
Staying safe abroad
Once you have done your research and have all your documents in order, the most critical thing to bear in mind is to stay safe. This will all depend on you as individual and remaining street wise at all time, as you are quite likely to stick out as not being from the country you are studying in.
Again, some things to remember are:
- Don’t have valuables on display
- Don’t take risks you wouldn’t at home
- Research locals dress customs and adhere to them
- Be wary of where you take photographs
- Check your phone will work abroad
Other than these pointers, the key to keeping safe is essentially being respectful of your locale. If you do your research and behave in a way that will be appreciated by the locals then you are very unlikely to encounter any problems. The country you are studying in could well have religious customs you aren’t used to, so not respecting these can lead to issues.
However, we know that prospective Collegiate students are all respectful, intellectual individuals so the chances of you feeling unsafe is unlikely. So, follow these tips and we’re sure you will have a fantastic time wherever you decide to complete your degree,
Remember also, that you can call 112 in any EU country to speak to the emergency services.
Stay in touch with your family
It can be very easy when studying abroad, to forget to stay in touch with your loved ones. Embracing a new culture, making new friends and getting stuck into your degree course is likely to be great fun, but remember that your family will worry if they don’t hear from you. Not only are you away at university, but you are in a strange new country so a phone call, text or even a message on social media just to let everyone know you are okay every now and again, will go a long way to assuring them you are okay. You should have access to Wi-Fi wherever you are these days, so sending a quick message has never been easier.
Collegiate’s commitment to international students
If you’re reading this article as a student who is pondering time in a different country as part of their degree course, or perhaps a concerned parent looking into the dangers of studying abroad then you can rest assured. Studying abroad has never been safer due to the infrastructure that exists in countries such as Spain and Portugal.
What’s more, when renting with Collegiate international students can take advantage of world class security, giving you a great added peace of mind. Our 24/7 security systems and concierge mean that no corners are cut when it comes to your safety in a Collegiate residence, wherever it may be that you are studying. Cities such as Valencia and Barcelona are however very safe places to live, you can find out more about the benefits of studying in such a region here.