Staying safe while studying abroad
Are you concerned about your personal safety and security while studying abroad in Ireland? Allow our ambassador from the US, Rebekah Eddy to put your mind at ease with her advice on staying safe.
I can remember being so excited to receive my acceptance letter when I first decided to study abroad. I called my Mom, but instead of sharing in my joy, her first words to me were “are you sure that’s safe?” Fellow international students can appreciate this sentiment. If it is not a concerned parent, it is a concerned friend or neighbour questioning the safety of studying abroad. International students do have to be cautious and be aware of their surroundings, but luckily for students in Ireland, they have a bit of an advantage.
Every city has its questionable areas, but in comparison to how I feel back home, I feel much safer in the supposed “worst” areas in Ireland than some of the “safest” cities in the US. Most areas in Dublin are well lit. As a young female, I can walk by myself late at night through most parts of the city with no issues. I have survived numerous late-night bus, tram, and taxi rides.
Ireland is ranked safer than the US in terms of national crime rates. Organisations such as the OECD and World Bank have helpful stats for students concerned about studying in Ireland. Travelling throughout the island is simple enough, although I recommend that international students travelling to Northern Ireland should learn some of its history and check the recent news for any political issues. That being said, I never had any problems on my numerous trips up North.
My university safety experience in Ireland has been quite positive. UCD’s student union offers information and services ranging from consent and STI prevention to emergency contacts. This school-wide attention to safety and information is not only for on-campus activities, but for housing, nights out, cycling etc. Nearly every toilet stall has a list of hotline numbers to call from suicide prevention to campus security.
While Ireland is relatively safe, international students should still be cautious. It is helpful to know the local emergency numbers, the nearest Garda station, and relevant embassy location. US students registered with the embassy can receive security notices — quite useful if you want to avoid any planned protests. Every country has its problems and Ireland is no exception. Even so, international students have a lot of help when it comes to staying safe in Ireland.
Have you had any safety concerns while studying abroad? Leave me a comment and let me know.