- Be aware of pickpockets while traveling, touring, or exploring. Especially because of the economic crisis, pickpocketing in Europe is especially high. Always keep your belongings close to you. If you have a backpack, lock it shut or consider wearing it in front of you. Keep purses closed and be sure that cross-body and regular straps are strong so that they cannot be cut off of you. Try to leave valuables in your hotel, dorm or hostel room if you have access to a safe that you can lock securely. For valuables like IDs, passports, money, checks and others, you may consider wearing a pouch on your body, underneath your clothing. In the case that a pickpocket tries to take your purse or bag, you will still have the essentials on your person.
- Purchase a cellphone that has a cheap data plan when you get to your study abroad destination. Often buying a phone and getting calling cards in another country can be extremely expensive as well as very inconvenient when you are moving from place to place. Also, taking your regular cell phone and using their international fees can quickly wrack up your phone bill. Try to find an inexpensive, pay-as-you-go phone from the country you are staying in.
- Take the time to do some research ahead of time about the country you will be visiting during Study Abroad. If the language spoken in this region is not English, make a sincere effort to learn the language as best you can. Be sure to at least learn basic phrases and expressions that you can use in your daily encounters. Focus on vocabulary for directions, purchases, and emergencies so that you can get help. You should also learn about the culture and check out things you will want to do or see while you are in the area.
- Be wary of public transportation. In some countries, there are gypsy cabs that will charge you excessive fees to get where you want to go. In cities like London and Budapest especially, you should make sure that the taxi driver is licensed before getting into the cab. Find out about the situation in your area beforehand so that you know if it is better to call a cab or play it safe by riding the bus or a subway system.
- Finally, sign up for the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. This is a free program that will provide you with updated access to information about the country you will be travelling to such as travel warnings and alerts and more. This program is also helpful in the case that you lose your passport. There are many other additional benefits of the program as well that can make travel and emergency situations much easier to handle.
Your study abroad experience will absolutely be memorable and life changing, but make sure that these experiences are safe and responsible as well. Planning ahead and being aware of your surroundings while abroad will help to keep you safe, secure and in control. Find out more about how your school protects and guides study abroad students by visiting their page or reading more on http://www.onlinemba.ohio.edu.