Cork Institute of Technology student Tanusha Suvashini Hatish Kumar explains the smart precautions to take when studying in a new country.

Playing Sherlock Holmes and Watson

Why am I talking about safety and security and not about something flowery or funny? Well, as an international student here in Ireland for the first time, I figured that most of us will not be thinking about staying safe, especially after getting acclimatised to everything.

According to an article in the Irish Post by Rebecca Keane in July 2018, Ireland was ranked as one of the top ten safest countries in the world (based on a study of 31 countries), published by the Global Peace Index 2018. Yes! Ireland is an amazing country, with the most gorgeous natural landscapes and scenery, as well as fascinating ancient history — Not forgetting the unique Irish flavours of food and beverages, architectural monuments and buildings, colourful gardens and amazing hospitality.

Nevertheless, as an International student coming to an unknown country for the first time, leaving families back home to pursue a higher education, it is very important that we always remain alert and exercise personal safety wherever we go.

A view of cork reflected in the river water

Police and thieves

SafeAround says that Ireland is definitely a safe country — however like anywhere, there are common petty thefts, burglaries and other small offences. This does not mean that you should cancel your plans and tickets to come to this beautiful country, but instead always remember to follow safety precautions, remain vigilant at all times whether you’re at school, at home, in the bar, at a restaurant, on the train or bus or any other public area.

Always be aware of your surroundings. The overall risk is LOW of course, but pickpocketing does exist in all countries. So now the big question comes; how do we go about being safe.

Better safe than sorry

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has compiled a list of Do’s and Don’ts. Let’s check it out:

  • Do NOT walk alone at night back to your dorm or accommodation. Walk in groups.
  • Stick to BUSY streets instead of going down an alley, even if it is a shortcut and you’re in a hurry.
  • Unless it is important, avoid using MOBILE PHONES to talk or for listening to music while walking as it makes you less aware of your surroundings.
  • If you feel like someone is following you, stop a cab IMMEDIATELY or go somewhere busy.
  • Make it a habit to always INFORM a friend or your roommate, where and when you are planning to go and with whom.
  • When using the ATM, always check your surroundings and do not use your phone when taking out money. Do not leave your wallet open in front of you and do not use ATMs at night in an isolated place.
  • If you feel someone is acting INAPPROPRIATELY towards you (especially in bars), do not hesitate to inform security or the manager of the premises.
  • Do NOT leave your room keys around (even in your accommodation facility) thinking no one will touch it.
  • You are RESPONSIBLE for the safety of yourself and your personal belongings, such as mobile phones, wallets, credit cards, student ID’s, laptops, jewellery, passport, money etc.
  • If you’re travelling anywhere, do NOT leave your important and personal belongings back in the accommodation or at home.
  • USI does recommend that students get their personal belongings (especially mobile phones, cameras and laptops) insured, so that if the worst were to happen, you can get it fixed or replaced with minimal hassle and without unexpected stress and expense. It could stop a bad day from becoming a nightmare.

Stay alert and stay safe!