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Adapted from CIEE’s Knowledge series of informational brochures. Staying safe while abroad is much like staying safe here in Seattle- it’s about being aware, having a plan, and not taking undue risk.
It’s can be tempting to take risks while abroad you wouldn’t take at home, often justifying it with the argument you’re only doing what locals do. The problem is locals- who truly understand their culture- are in a much better position to judge the situations they find themselves in than you are. You may misread cultural signals- those verbal, non-verbal, and situational clues you interpret instinctively in your own culture.
Most of us overestimate the danger of rare events over which we have no control (such as terrorist attacks) and underestimate the danger of common events over which we have at least some control (like traffic accidents). Be concerned with preventing the things you can: petty theft, pedestrian safety, getting lost, undue risks. Here are a few preventative measures:
Make sure you know what to expect by asking about things like: