The Syracuse London Staff work hard to maintain health and safety on campus, and all students participate in a briefing as part of our Arrivals & Orientation Program. But students also need to think about health and safety outside of Faraday House.
London is like any large city: While the vast majority of people will be kind and/or leave others alone, everyone needs to keep safety concerns in mind. Bear the notes below in mind!
- Know your emergency contacts
“999” is the British emergency line; make a note of local service numbers.
Program an “In Case of Emergency” contact in your phone: type “ICE” in place of a specified name. We recommend using the Syracuse London emergency number (07957 473159) as the primary contact; add a second entry for a close relative or friend.
- Tell others where you are
Make sure friends and family know where you are when – and when you expect to be back, so they can avoid worrying unnecessarily but also take the appropriate action if anything seems wrong.
Syracuse London students must fill in the Independent Travel Form whenever staying overnight away from their provided housing. The data is only accessed if something goes wrong, but it can also help with excused absences from class in case of travel delays.
- Watch your belongings
Pickpockets will target large groups and locations like the Underground and bars. Keep bags shut, in view, and within close reach. A database of personal belongings such as cameras, laptops, credit cards, and passports – with photocopies of important documents and records of serial numbers – can help identify/replace lost or stolen items.
- Drink responsibly
While the legal drinking age in the UK and most of Europe is 18, alcohol needs to be consumed with moderation. Virtually every incident of assault within our program has been associated with substantial alcohol consumption.
Additionally, drugs used to facilitate sexual assault (the so-called ‘date rape’ drugs) are a real risk in the UK and Europe. Do not leave drinks unattended; be wary of accepting drinks from people you do not know well. Open and pour your own drink, and don’t share drinks with others.
- Travel with licensed carriers
Do not take unlicensed minicabs. Ever. Why pay to get into a stranger’s car? Be especially careful outside clubs, where they tout for business and can look legitimate. Visit our Transport page for more information about safe transit options.
- Pay attention to your surroundings
Looking at directions on a mobile phone leads to lesser external awareness. This makes thieves’ and attackers’ jobs easier – focus and be alert!
- Be especially aware that you are in an unfamiliar environment
Things are different when abroad. Traffic may come from directions different to what feels ‘normal’. Remember to pay extra attention to everything.
- Trust your instincts
If something seems ‘off’, stay calm and move away. Voice concerns to friends, and listen to your gut.
- Look after yourself and your friends
Avoid being out late at night, travelling alone, or drinking excessively. Ensure friends do the same.
Always plan the journey home before beginning a night out. Travel in groups and stick to well-lit areas. Look confident and keep your head up.
- Use money smarts
ATMs are easy targets. Avoid machines charging transaction fees: Those operated by banks and building socities won’t. Be careful of people nearby. ATMs inside buildings and just outside banks are generally safest.
- Know the local laws
For instance, it is a criminal offense to carry weapons – including both knives and CS/pepper spray – in the UK.
- Be conscious of the fact that you are ‘a foreigner’
Tourists abroad stand out due to their clothing and speech. Foreigners’ volume, accents, and appearances can attract attention from pickpockets and others who assume easy targets.
Read local news to be informed of what is going on and read up on customs.
Avoid confrontation: It’s better and safer to walk away from provoking behaviours, whatever the reason.