Safety at night (the small print!)

safety at night

Author: Lily Smith

 

Safety at Night (the small print) 

Now look, mindhamok aren’t trying to be the fun police, but your safety is important and as we venture into new cities with new customs, cultures and rules, it’s crucial to have our wits about us. The reality is there are some shi*ty people out there, and sometimes no matter how careful we are, crappy things happen. We aren’t playing the blame game, folks. Oftentimes women (in particular) are told to take a whole load of precautions which can often feel bloody unfair and counterintuitive to living freely and how we want. It’s not your fault that walking home alone at night can feel scary and at times, unsafe. We get it. But that aside, we want to give you all the tools to have a safe and joyful study abroad experience. This blog on safety at night (the small print!) is for everybody, so listen up!

Stay connected

In the age of technology, we’ve been blessed with live locations and ‘Find my Friends’. If you’re ever feeling unsafe, share your live location with a friend, or family member, and let them walk home with you (virtually).

This also works in an Uber, and many other ride-hailing apps. Share your journey with somebody so they can track how you’re getting on.

Now disconnecting from our phones is often great for our wellbeing and mental health, but when we are talking safety at night, make sure your phone is charged, alive and well! Now don’t go flashing it around, but ensure you’ve charged it up before a night out and keep it on you at all times.

Know your numbers!

Wherever you are, know your numbers. mindhamok love safety (we can’t help it!) so we’d encourage you to save any important local numbers in your phone. Chances are you won’t need them, but you can never be too careful.

Check out this handy article full of all European emergency numbers. It’s also worth saving your study abroad centre’s emergency number, too.

Planning

mindhamok safety

Not only are you planning heaps of good times while you’re on your study abroad adventure, but it’s also good to plan some safety measures too, particularly at night. City mapper the app is a God send and is available to download in most European cities. It can basically get you home from anywhere. Didn’t I say God send? Check your route home in advance so you know what to expect. We get it, after a few pints at the local boozer it’s tempting to stumble home ‘el solo’ at 4am but please be conscious of your routes. Is there a way that’s better lit? What train line is typically busier and might feel safer? You’ll know what feels right, and if something doesn’t feel right, find somewhere busy and well-lit and ask for help.

No headphones! The strut can wait

If you’re anything like me, it’s my favourite thing in the world to strut down the street, headphones in, hips a swayin’ and living my best life with me as the star and headliner of my own music video. Typically to a Beyonce song. But, as unfair as this may be, it’s important that if we’re alone at night, we want to be able to hear what’s going on around us. Whether that’s traffic, voices or the birds tweeting as the sun comes up (go to bed!).

Find your exit buddy

If possible, or you’re feeling unsafe, ask a friend to walk or travel home with you. I live in London, am nearing 30 and I’m not big on travelling home late alone, so I get it. There’s no shame in asking somebody to make sure you get home ok, in fact it’s brave, and bloody sensible.

Stranger danger

New people are great, and it’s important to be open to new connections and friends. But your mental health and wellbeing come first, so if you ever don’t feel safe, or something in your gut feels off and your spidy senses are on high alert, then trust yourself. It’s always better to be over cautious in a situation that feels a little off. Get off that tube, metro, train or bus if you don’t feel safe. Kindly leave a conversation with a stranger if you don’t feel safe or respected. And if you feel like you’re in danger, then call the local police.

The gender issue

Safety at night really is important for everyone. Whatever our gender, we must all be careful when in a new city, particularly at night. But women are often more vulnerable to danger at night, it’s the crappy reality of being a woman! Check out this article on safety as a women abroad. Ask your female friends if they are ok getting home, check in on them, talk openly. We all need support and not only is receiving it lovely but giving it can feel pretty great too.

Check out our podcast on sexual harassment and safety as a student.

Talking about support…

This isn’t a blame game; some people are just sh*t and there’s nothing we can do to avoid encountering them and potentially having a bad experience. If something does happen, and if you want to talk about, or even if you don’t want to talk but perhaps feel it could help, then mindhamok are here for you, always. With counselling in your host city available, a helpline and a live chat, whatever you need, we’ve got it. Studying abroad is a rollercoaster, ups and downs and everything in between. So let’s put our mind in a hammock and make safety a priority.

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