Thursday, January 5, 2012

How Staying Safe While Studying Abroad?

Studying abroad is a great experience that every student should have, because it is a chance to experience life in another country while also earning college credits. Of course, living abroad for a semester or a year requires a great deal of preparation. You will need to brush up on the language of the country you are visiting as well as make yourself aware of various laws or cultural differences that can impact visitors. Finally, you'll have to be aware of any precautions you must take. For women studying abroad, it is often necessary to take extra steps to be safe while studying abroad.

Of course, no female college student wants to hear that she must exercise more caution than her male classmates. Unfortunately, not every country embraces gender equality. In some places that you visit, innocent behavior on your part as a woman can get you into some uncomfortable or even dangerous situations.

Before traveling, you must do some research about what it is like to be a woman in the country where you are studying abroad. Do women have equal status, or is the society male-dominated? You will want to know what social behaviors are expected from women. Of course, this does not mean that you have to agree with the views of the country you are staying in. It is simply a good idea to be aware of what you are facing as a female student.

Be aware of what behaviors and practices are associated with dating or sexual advances in the country where you are staying. For example, in some countries, friendly eye contact or a smile between a woman and a man may be construed as sexual interest. You will want to be well aware of what message your body language is sending to those you meet.

You may wish to dress in a way that allows you to fit in with other women in the country where you are studying abroad. Clothing that is popular among American women may appear provocative in a country where women typically dress more conservatively. At the least, the wrong clothing choices could make you stand out in a crowd, which may make you uncomfortable. At the worst, showing too much skin in a conservative country could attract unwanted advances that might put you into danger.

Exercise caution when going out alone at night. It may be best to go with a friend or a group, but if you do go out alone, stick to well-lit, populated areas. You may want to find out in advance what areas are best avoided after dark in the town or city where you are staying. Also, make sure you know the emergency number of the country you are in.

Depending on the country where you are studying abroad, you may come up against gender views that you do not agree with. Try not to be too resentful. Experiencing other cultures is the reason why you chose to study abroad in the first place. It is okay to be frustrated by attitudes towards women that you may encounter. Just remember that your first priority is your own safety!

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