Tips on How to Keep Safe While Studying Abroad

Japan is ranked as one of the safest countries in the world. The country has an incredibly low crime rate. A 2014 Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development study ranked Japan as “the safest country in the world.” Japan also reports “the second-lowest homicide rate after Iceland and the second-lowest assault rate after Canada.”

Japan is proud of being such a safe place that children can walk home and even go to shopping malls without any adult supervision, women can walk dark back alleys and empty streets alone, people can leave their bags unattended without fear of their things being stolen, and cars can be left running without fear of them being driven away.

Passport. |  Tim Sackton

Japan’s crime rate may be one of the lowest in the world, but it still isn’t 100% safe. It is still best to exercise caution especially when you are a foreigner in a new country.

Here are some tips on keeping safe while abroad:

Sign up for U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.

This government sponsored program gives you the automatic updates and information on the latest travel warnings and alerts from the Bureau of Consular Affairs about the country you’re in. It also comes in handy if you lose your passport.

Keep a low profile.

Being a foreigner in another country, it’s always advisable to not stick out like a sore thumb. Always dress appropriately, try to observe local customs and traditions and know beforehand the do’s and don’ts when in Japan.

S15 Kamakura trip. | KCP Flickr

Research about your host country.

Learn about the local customs and laws of Japan. It would also be helpful to know the proper person to contact in case of emergency as well as where the US embassy offices are located closest to the area where you’re staying.

Get travel and health insurance.

Even if you are in perfect health and have no health issues, it’s best to come prepared. Get full medical examinations prior to your departure and all the necessary vaccinations. Know where the nearest hospitals and clinics are in the area where you’ll be staying and if there are any medications that are prohibited to bring into Japan.

Don’t feel too comfortable.

Even if Japan is considered safe, and after spending some time in the country, you start to drop your guard and being too comfortable becomes a habit. One day you may still find yourself caught in a predicament. Always remember to be on your guard, and as the saying goes… “It’s always better to be safe than sorry.”