Undoubtedly your friends and family will be worried about you when you move abroad, so here are some tips on how to stay safe and what to do in certain situations when you are overseas.
Always keep in touch with your friends and family when you’re away, and if you set up a weekly meeting via phone, Skype or Facebook then make sure you stick to it. If you can’t make the phone call that week let them know in advance, or they’ll be worrying about you. If you stay in touch regularly, then it can put minds at ease.
When you do contact home, go into great detail so that your loved ones know everything that is going on with you. If you are having trouble with the degree course, made some new friends or are feeling homesick at university, you need to tell them. If something happens to you, or something unexpected happens in general, your loved ones need to be updated.
Write down all of your numbers and addresses for everyone at home, and at your new student accommodation on a piece of paper and make two copies. Place one copy in your room for safe keeping and another in your purse for emergency contact. Also, make a note on your phone and create a Google Document with all the information. Google Docs allows you to access a document anywhere and anytime on any device and is a great way to keep the information to make it easily accessible.
Research helplines, local police and ambulance telephone numbers before you arrive so you have a database of numbers should you ever need them. Other important numbers to research are your country’s embassy, international students and the local council or authority in case you have any issues while you are away.
Make a point of meeting with your teachers, personal tutor and the staff at the international or foreign department at your university when you arrive. When you meet someone face to face, it is easier to contact or speak to them at a later date, especially if you are in trouble or need help with something.
There are some fantastic apps out there designed especially to help you in your hour of need. There are apps with the ability to call emergency contacts on your phone if you are in need of help, to help find your mobile phone via GPS if you lose it, and to lock and secure your phone in case it is misplaced or stolen.
If you make new friends at class, in the local area or through your neighbour, always tell someone about them to ensure someone else knows what you’re doing and with whom.
Lastly, our most important piece of advice we can give you to keep yourself safe, in mind and body, is never to be afraid to ask for help. Students who are moving to another country can be scared or anxious to ask for help from their new classmates, landlord, tutor or even from their loved ones at home. Always ask for help when you need it.
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