After watching Kim (Maggie Grace) get kidnapped on her Parisian vacation by sex-traffickers in the movie Taken, I’ve dumped my plan of traveling Europe alone. The likelihood of something similar happening, however, is probably small. Pickpocketing appears to be the national crime of France, and you’re far more likely to suffer from a vehicle accident than from a crime at the hands of a trafficker. Still, I’ve been unable to find out if kidnapping is a serious problem for Americans in Europe or not; there is an absence of public government stats addressing the question. At any rate, it’s best to be safe. Here are three things every student going abroad should do:

1. Leave an itinerary with someone. If people know where you’re going they’ll know where to look if something goes wrong.  Make it as detailed as possible too!

2. Be alert. Be aware. Check out the U.S. Department of State’s student international safety page before you travel. The site has a nice feature that allows you to check out country specific information, such as crime trends.

3.  Don’t do anything you wouldn’t do in the U.S. Yes, Prague is pretty at night, but so is Chicago and New York, and you probably wouldn’t scamper through the residential streets alone at night in those cities. This point also has another meaning—don’t break the law. You could end up in prison facing much harsher penalties than in the U.S. According to the L.A. Times, London, a likely study abroad spot, is the #4 city that Americans are likely to be arrested in.

Advertisements