The United Kingdom is home to some of the world’s best universities. Because of this, students from all over the world come to study at UK universities. Most international students are excited about a new adventure and being in a new country. However, moving to a new country can also be overwhelming. It’s normal to be a little concerned about your safety and wellbeing.
While there’s no real cause for concern, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Keep the following tips on how to stay safe at university in mind so you can feel more comfortable in your new environment.
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How to Stay Safe at University in the UK
Generally, you don’t need to be worried about your safety when studying at a university in the UK. The UK is a fairly peaceful nation and ranked 33 on the Global Peace Index 2021. This is a comprehensive list of 163 countries.
While you’ll likely be safe on campus, it’s still a good idea to be careful when in the city. This is especially true if you’re moving to a large city like London and Manchester. Keep these safety tips in mind so that your university experience in the UK can be a great one.
Store Important Documents and Valuables Carefully
The best safety tip we can give you is always take care of your valuables and important documents. Your passport and official paperwork contain sensitive information that you must protect. Instead of leaving these lying around, store them in a safe place. Other important cards like your Student ID card should be kept on you at all times.
We would also advise taking pictures of important documents so you have them available on your phone in case of emergencies.
Sort Out Your Health Insurance
One of the first things you should take care of when arriving at university in the UK is your health insurance paperwork. As a student, you may be entitled to treatment from the National Health Service (NHS) once you’ve registered. However, this isn’t always the case. For example, if you’re doing a short course, you may have to get health insurance from your home country. In either case, this should be taken care of in case of emergencies.
Note Down the Emergency Numbers
Knowing the emergency numbers is one of the first things you should do when you arrive in a new nation. While this is one of our more obvious safety tips, it still needs to be said. It’s crucial that you save the emergency numbers since they will allow you to reach the police, the fire department, or an ambulance. In the UK, these are 999 and 112.
Get To Know Your Surroundings
When you’re in a new city or country, it’s always best to explore and get to know it. However, before you do so, don’t forget to note down your accommodation details on a piece of paper or as a note on your phone. If you lose your way, you can always ask someone to help you or guide you in the right direction. This also involves getting to know the public transport system. Download the bus and train timetables, so you know how to navigate your new city. When you become more familiar with the routes, you’ll generally feel safer.
Have a Plan When You Go Out at Night
Whether you’re going to the theatre or getting a pint with your friends, you should always have a way to get back to your dorm or apartment. If you’re staying out late, you should know when the last train leaves or pre-book a taxi. It’s also a good idea to check in with friends and share your location if you feel unsafe.
Additionally, take routes you’re already comfortable with and make sure you have your ID card, phone, keys, and money with you when you go out. Avoid dark streets and alleyways, and stick to well-lit areas if it’s dark outside.
Pickpockets Are Common in Urban Areas
If you’re in a large city like London or Manchester, you may come across pickpockets. These thieves work in teams and may bump into you or otherwise try to steal your belongings. Be on the lookout for unusual behaviour and stay attentive. It’s also a smart idea to choose a bag that’s close to your body (like a cross-body bag) instead of an open tote that people can reach into.
Don’t Put All Your Money in One Place
It’s a good idea not to keep all your money in one place. While you should carry cash, don’t leave all of it and all your debit cards in a single place. Once you arrive in the UK, open a bank and deposit any cash that you’ve brought with you for safekeeping. This is also useful in case you lose or misplace your wallet. In this case, you’ll have money available while you resolve the issue.
Take Care When Using ATMs
You will need to withdraw cash from the ATM from time to time. However, it’s always best to be careful when doing so. Make sure there aren’t people close to you looking at your PIN and cover the numbers with your hand or sleeve as you’re typing them in. If you note suspicious activity and are alone, it’s best to go to another ATM.
Ensure Accommodation Safety
You don’t have to worry too much about people breaking in if you’re living on campus. In addition to there being safety in numbers, most UK universities have security teams and CCTV cameras.
However, accommodation safety can be an issue if you stay off-campus and rent a flat. Leaving your doors and windows open may result in burglars targeting your home. Closing your windows is especially important if you live on the ground floor. Locking the door when you leave your apartment and always having your keys on your person are good ideas.
- 8 Tips to Make Transitioning to University Life Easier
- A Guide to Studying and Living in the UK
- Survival Tips for UK International Students
- The 10 Best Cities to Study Abroad in the UK
Studying at a UK university is generally safe because of the low level of crime in the country. However, emergencies and accidents can happen without prior warning. Use these tips on how to stay safe at university and beware of your surroundings, so you aren’t the victim of a crime. This way, you can ensure that your UK university experience is an excellent one.