When you’re out and about in Australian towns and cities, it is important to remain aware of your surroundings, particularly when you are out at night.
Observe the following safety tips:
- If you go out at night, don’t walk alone. Take a friend with you, or arrange to catch public transport or take a taxi.
- Never accept a ride from a stranger. Hitchhiking in Australia is illegal, and has been known to be very dangerous.
- If you’re at a bar or club, never accept a drink from someone you don’t know. Keep your drink in your hand at all times to avoid the likelihood it will be spiked.
- Monitor your alcohol intake. Drinking too much in unfamiliar surroundings can make you an easy target.
- Don’t feel pressured to engage in conversation with someone who is drunk or aggressive. Avoid eye contact and remove yourself from the situation.
- Try to withdraw money from the bank during daylight hours. Keep minimal money in your wallet or pockets and never write your PIN number down.
- Look both ways before you cross the road. Australians drive on the left hand side of the road, which can be confusing for many international students.
- Take your headphones out when walking alone at night, and when crossing the street, so that you can hear what’s happening around you.
- Never leave your laptop unattended in a public space. Keep your phone and wallet on your person or safely stored in your bag, and keep laptops and tablets within arm’s reach.
- Never give your personal information, particularly your financial information, to someone you don’t know.
Other safety issues will apply depending on your lifestyle and the city or town you live in. For example, students living in coastal cities should learn about ocean safety before swimming at the beach.
When you first arrive in Australia, take the time to get to know your surroundings. Talk to the locals, do some reading about your city online and make sure you take the necessary precautions to have a safe and happy stay.