At CBL-International, your safety is our main priority. Even thought our programs are located in countries that are considered safe, many problems that can happen in your own country can also happen overseas. Here are a few suggestions on how to reduce the likelihood of these incidents to happen and on what behaviors and tips you should adopt when you are abroad.
Conditions that Contribute to Risk Whether at Home or Abroad
Situations which place anyone at greatest risk are:
- Being out after midnight
- Being alone at night in an isolated area
- Being in a known high-crime area
- Sleeping in an unlocked place
- Being out after a local curfew
- Being intoxicated
Strategies Used by Students to Reduce Risk:
You have most likely been using various strategies in order to stay safe in your home country. These can be used abroad as well:
- Listening for what is being said around you
- Keeping watch for suspicious people and vehicles
- Knowing what hours of the night are more dangerous than others
- Staying in and walking only in those areas that are well lit
- Avoiding being alone in unfamiliar neighborhoods
- Knowing where to get help (stores, phones, fire station, etc.)
Note: It is important to discuss the extent to which these strategies are or are not applicable during your time abroad.
Factors Placing Students at Risk Abroad
Your circumstance as a foreigner places you at some increased risk because you:
- Are new to this country
- May not speak the local language well
- Are traveling to new places and making new friends
- Are curious about your new home and the new culture you are living in
- May stand out in a crowd
- Have not yet learned the best way to say no in this culture
- May not yet pick up the “clues” in this culture that you are in danger
- Have not yet established personal daily routines in your new home
Strategies for Reducing Risk
Safety is ultimately the responsibility of each individual. You should try and develop your own safety strategies and avoid behaving and going to locations where you might find trouble. Here are a few suggestions that we would like to propose to assist you in personal awareness and safety.
- Establishing relationships with hosts, neighbors, and local authorities
- Improving structural security of residence (shuttered/barred window, door locks, sealed walls/ceilings, etc.)
- Ensuring access to emergency medical care
- Developing emergency support/communications network
- Screening visitors
- Wearing prudent attire
- Restricting night travel
- Projecting certainty of route and destination
- Avoiding “high risk” regions
- Traveling with a friend/ trusted other
- Women sitting with other women or middle aged couples
- Demonstrating vigilance/confidence/”street smarts”
- Being aware of surroundings
- Avoiding “high risk” areas
- Identifying “safe zones”
- Using “buddy system”
- Carrying whistle or other personal safety device
- Locating safe hotels/guest houses
- Moderating alcohol consumption
- Carrying only sufficient cash in safe place (pouch, money belt)
(The above guidelines were adapted from SAFETI’s adaptation of Peace Corps resources.)
If you are victim of any kind of assault, it is important that you immediately contact one of the CBL-International supervisors as you may need medical attention, talk about what happened, and deal with local authorities.
Top 10 Tips for Students While Overseas:
In addition to the tips we have given you above, below are the “Top Ten Travel Tips for Students” as found in the brochure “State department travel tips for students”, provided by the U.S. State Department.
- Make sure you have a signed, valid passport and visas, if required. Also, before you go, fill in the emergency information page of your passport!
- Read the Consular Information Sheets (and Public Announcements or Travel Warnings, if applicable) for the countries you plan to visit.
- Make copies of your itinerary, passport data page and visas. Take one set with you and leave a second set with family or friends at home, so that you can be contacted in case of an emergency. Keep your host program informed of your whereabouts.
- Make sure you have insurance that will cover your emergency medical needs (including medical evacuation) while you are overseas.
- Familiarize yourself with local laws and customs of the countries to which you are traveling. Remember, while in a foreign country, you are subject to its laws!
- Do not leave your luggage unattended in public areas and never accept packages from strangers.
- While abroad, avoid using illicit drugs or drinking excessive amounts of alcoholic beverages, and associating with people who do.
- Do not become a target for thieves by wearing conspicuous clothing and expensive jewelry and do not carry excessive amounts of cash or unnecessary credit cards.
- Deal only with authorized agents when you exchange money to avoid violating local laws.
- When overseas, avoid demonstrations and other situations that may become unruly or where anti-American sentiments may be expressed.
If you wish to have more information about safety, health, cultural and legal rules in the country you will be going to, please don’t hesitate to contact us by phone at : (+86) 021 6123 9750
Or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
One of our team members will be happy to get back to you as soon as possible.