At times, it’s easy to have stereotypes or be afraid of a country based on what you’ve heard on the news. One thing to keep in mind is that the news rarely reports on the good and redeeming stories of a place, so take these stories with a grain of salt. However, no matter where you’re living abroad, you need to take some basic precautions to ensure that you and your possessions are safe.
When you’re in a new place, especially a country where the customs and language are very different from what you’re used to, everything can be both a little dangerous and exciting at the same moment. Make sure to talk with the locals and other expats that have been there longer on areas to avoid (particularly at night) and what kind of scams are out there. Keeping current on local news and happenings will also help you to know what to look for, if anything.
In order to lower your chances of being a victim, try to blend in. Don’t flaunt your wealth or carry large amounts of cash if you can avoid it. Try to take on the general attitude, language, and dress of the people around you. This will not only help you to adapt faster, but is a sign of respect for your new home, which people will appreciate.
Depending on where you’re moving from, you’ll want to keep information such as crime rates in perspective. For instance, if you’re moving from the suburbs of Chicago to Hong Kong, then the sheer number of people create for a greater incidence of petty crimes. Areas that are known to have a lot of tourists are prime spots for losing a wallet or a camera bag.
Despite how worldly you are, the one thing you want to avoid is thinking that nothing bad will ever happen to you. This can really ring true for those who have been living abroad for awhile and consider themselves habituated. Of course, you don’t want to live your life in fear, but let’s face it; no matter where you live or for how long, you just never know what could happen, so it’s always wise to pay attention to your surroundings.
While living abroad can be a bit intimidating, when you think about it, it’s not all that different from any other place you’ve lived. A little common sense and basic knowledge of the area can go a long way for all expats.