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You’ve made it! What an amazing accomplishment and opportunity to travel abroad and have a more holistic academic learning experience. During your visits, tours, and exhibitions, it is important to remember to keep yourself safe as well as your friends around you. Here are five safety tips that I encourage you to practice during the time you are abroad.

Invest in an anti-theft bag

During my stay in Barcelona, my phone was pickpocketed. Although I was careful, I had my phone in my pocket in a busy street instead of having it in a safe spot in my bag. I highly recommend investing in an anti-theft bag in order to add a layer of protection to your belongings. In the case that you are pickpocketed, my consejo (tip) is to have the serial number of your phone on a piece of paper in your bag or purse. Having this number is the only way the police can help track down your phone.

Be aware of what’s happening around you

When you are in neighborhoods that attract a lot of tourists or when you are out late at night in clubs/bars, it is important to remember to be cautious of where you leave your belongings. During my stay, I would only bring the necessary items such as my house keys and money. I suggest having your bag and phone on you at all times and not having your belongings on the floor or your phone on tables in public places.

Bring a friend with you

I recommend that you hang out with someone you feel safe with, whether that’s a mentor from the program or a friend you met on the program. It’s important to stay together (especially at night) and have each other’s back.

Bring any medication that you may need

I would also recommend bringing your medications from home. This is important because the doctors here may not have your specific prescription. However, there is good accessibility for medicines such as painkillers and allergy pills in the pharmacies and supermarkets. If you are unsure of where to go, do not hesitate to ask the the Barcelona SAE staff!

Take down time as needed

It is totally up to you (and only you!) to decide when you need a break from socializing, exploring, or traveling. Although it is exciting and fun to see new things and push ourselves out of our comfort zones, it is okay to feel overwhelmed. During my time in Barcelona, I tried to absorb as much as possible and enjoy myself, but I also tried my best to set some time aside for myself in order to rest, recharge, and be ready for the next day so that I wouldn’t feel strung-out.

Studying abroad in Barcelona is a great experience and I would encourage anyone to do it if they get the chance to! Above all, remember to be safe and enjoy yourself.

Mia Ballesteros

Mia is a Sociology major at the University of Illinois at Chicago and she studied abroad with Barcelona SAE in Summer 2023. During her time in Barcelona, she took classes at the School for International Studies (SIS).

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