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Preparing for Life Abroad

Safety and security

Though you might have read horror stories of shootings and such gory happenings  in campuses abroad, these are in   reality, extremely rare occurrences. Most campuses are generally safe, with the authorities taking good care to ensure the safety of their students. That being said, it is important to remember that this is a foreign country, and until one is used to the nuances and rhythms of life on campus, it is always better to be extra safe and cautious. It is a good idea to educate oneself and take steps to reduce the potential for problems.

It is good to take the time to become familiar with the new surroundings, and it is advisable not to take shortcuts    through dark alleys, however tempting they may seem. Most campuses offer an escort service, where designated security personnel walk with the student and drive her from one place to another on campus particularly at night. Encourage your child to call for these services, especially on city campuses (U Penn, Johns Hopkins etc).

As always, using common sense is one of the best safety measures. It is sensible to keep doors and windows locked, and get to know one’s neighbours so that you can look out for each other. Paying close attention to the surroundings helps  and, most importantly, trusting your instincts – if something feels uncomfortable, it is best avoided.

The whole point is, there is only so much you can prepare, a lot depends on how you approach the new environment.

- Shreyas Kumar


Living on campus and in a dorm for the first year means that one does not have to depend on public or private  transport, since most of classes will be held within walking distance of the dorm, and on campus. Colleges that are part  of a consortium always have inter-campus transportation for their students. Rural and semi-urban colleges usually arrange for some sort of weekly transportation (usually on weekends) to the nearest mall, grocery store, pharmacy etc,  so that students can stock up on necessities. This facility may not be available in city campuses, where the colleges expect students to take advantage of public transport – either trains or buses. Public transport can run the gamut from excellent (in Singapore, for example) to not-very-efficient (many places in the USA). In many countries, taxis (or cabs) are used only for occasional, longer trips, such as to and from the airport, or to get back home safely late at night.


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