Student safety for international students in the US
Here are some safety tips to keep in mind while staying in the US
All American universities pay extreme attention to the safety of their students on campus. As an international student, you’ll have access to various points of contacts for any kind of emergency. Worry not, 24-hour security is provided at most campuses.
Your university security service can help
Almost all campuses in the US have a special body to ensure the safety of their international students called the safety commission. So, as the first step, check if your institution offers one and keep the security officer’s number saved in your phone.
Various universities and colleges also offer services like shuttles and security escorts to drop you to your accommodation or stations after hours. Some go a step further and have their own mobile apps with a direct line for students to get in touch with the security. Also, there is CCTV surveillance and security that work round the clock on the premises.
If, at any point of time, you feel unsafe in and around your campus or accommodation, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your college authorities.
What to do in an emergency?
If you happen to face any emergency, call the toll free number 911. This is a common number that can be used for fire, police or ambulance. Always, report a crime however big or small it maybe.
Stay alert when outdoors
- Being an international student, you must always be aware and vigilant about your surroundings. Trust your instincts and move away from areas where you feel uncomfortable and are not familiar with.
- Avoid travelling alone especially during the night. Pre-book a taxi or have a friend drop you.
- Walk on well-lit streets, preferably in a group. Carry sufficient emergency cash.
- Do not accept rides from strangers.
Navigate safe through the city
- Take some time to study the routes in the US properly. Get familiar with the area and check the latest maps for directions. Stick to well-lit routes.
- For short distances, you can make use of regional trains, buses, and subways.
- American laws are different from India. So, learn them beforehand to avoid breaking them unintentionally.
Keep your money and documents safe
Always keep your documents safe with you at all times. Your passport, identification, visa papers, and immigration forms should always be kept at a safe place. If you prefer to use cash, keep it at various places instead of a single location. It is always a better option to use a card rather than cash.
Do not carry your passport when you go out exploring. If you do not have a permanent place to live, contact your university’s international support team to get you campus storage facilities.
Have fun, but with care
Exploring new venues and enjoying your new surroundings can be exciting but before taking a trip to these areas, research and look up any information you can find on that place to see whether it is safe for you to go venturing. Inform your friends and family about your plans beforehand. You can also share your live location with someone you trust.
Always stay connected
Always keep your friends and family updated on your whereabouts at all times. Here’s how you can always remain connected:
- Get a local number and share it with friends, family, university office and your roommate
- Always keep your phone charged and on ringing when not in a classroom
- Whether you're going to another town or to the nearest shopping mall, keep someone informed
- If you feel unsafe at any given time, share your live location with someone you trust
Residential Program Safety
If you are enrolled in a residential program, make sure the security measures are in accordance with the US safety standards. If you find any discrepancy, bring the same to the notice of your college administration.
Your IDP counsellor will brief you about all the precautionary measures before you leave from India during your pre-departure session so that you are well prepared for the new challenges ahead.