We understand that your child living in a new city on the other side of the world can make you feel a little nervous. Even if the university they’re studying at has been ranked 7th in the country for the best student experience.
However, going to university is an important step in your son or daughter’s career journey and the UK can offer a great experience. And, there are things you can do to ensure your child’s safety at university.
Below are six tips you can use to help:
- insure your child’s travel and health
- help your child get to know their new city
- keep your child’s identity safe
- teach your child to be careful with money
- ensure internet safety
- download safety apps
1. Travel and health insurance
Safety at university starts with insurance.
Your child will be travelling with their most valuable items and it can be expensive to replace them if they get stolen or damaged. To keep their valuables safe, consider purchasing travel insurance for your son or daughter.
Finding health insurance for your son or daughter is a similar process and goes together with their student visa. Health insurance ensures your child will qualify for the same health benefits as a UK citizen, such as doctor’s visits and emergency treatment. Your child might rarely need to visit the doctor but insurance is good to have - just in case.
For more information, read our blog on the travel and health insurance your child needs while studying abroad.
2. Help your child to get to know their new city
It’s great if you and your child can visit the city together before they begin their studies. But if you can’t, don’t worry. There are other things you can do to help your child become more familiar with their new city and feel reassured within the surroundings.
- have your child write down the address of their accommodation in their phone or diary
- download the local bus and train timetables in the area and get to know the routes
You can also download apps onto your son or daughter’s phone which will help them get around, such as:
- Uber: Request a taxi with the click of a button. The app also incorporates a map and tracks journey progress
- CityMapper: A public transit app that makes finding a route easy and convenient
- Traveline: A transport route planner that partners with local authorities and transport providers to give the best transport information
- Trainline: An app for checking train routes and times and buying tickets. It also stores tickets virtually so you don’t have to worry about losing paper ones
Many universities now also include virtual tours of their cities and campuses. Why not take a virtual tour around the city of Newcastle?
3. Keep your child’s identity safe
It’s important that you teach your child about how they can keep their identity safe.
Ensure they take good care of personal documents. This means storing their bank statements, credit and debit cards, pin numbers, university ID and official paperwork in safe places.
This also applies to how your child uses the internet. Make sure they know not to give out their personal details via email, or to any suspicious website that they do not trust.
4. Teach your child to be careful with money
This is more than simply knowing where their wallet or purse is (although this is still important!). It applies to how they use their money, where they buy goods from and who they give their bank details to.
One good thing to remind your son or daughter to look for suspicious things when withdrawing money from an ATM or cash machine:
- does the ATM have any signs of interference?
- is someone trying to see their pin?
If you see signs of interference on the ATM, find another to use. Also, when entering your pin number, cover the numbers you press with your hand. It’s an easy way to keep your details and money safe.
Remind your child that when they buy from a website, they should look for the ‘https’ on the left side of the web address bar. If the website doesn’t contain this, it shouldn’t be trusted.
Our last point is small, but still important: Stick to a budget!
5. Ensure internet safety
Safety at university includes being safe online, especially as cybercrime is becoming more common. Therefore, you should go through these tips with your child to protect them while using the internet.
- keep passwords safe
- never use the same password twice
- remember to back up important data. Use an external hard drive and copy the files over
- be aware of new software. Never download anything from an untrustworthy site
- don’t open suspicious emails or click on their attachments
- never give away personal details on social media
For more information, read this blog on ways you can stay safe from student cyber crime.
6. Download safety apps
If your child is using their smartphone every day, it makes sense to download safety apps. Here are a few that we’d recommend:
- Streetsafe: locate your child on a map with real-time updates
- Circle of 6: your child can tap the application twice to notify their friends where they are
- Kitestring: you can program the app to send a text message to your child at a specific time, which they can use to check in with
- Safezone: if they are studying at Newcastle University, this will connect them to the security team, who are available to contact at all times
You can search the App or Play Store for other apps like these and quickly find others that your child can use at university.
Studying in the UK is a very safe and positive experience. If you find yourself in a friendly city such as Newcastle, with a safe and welcoming campus and community, you’ll be able to gain a respected degree while having a great university experience.
Guaranteeing safety at university doesn’t have to be difficult…
Students and parents will each have their concerns about studying abroad. It’s understandable that you’ll both have a lot of questions to ask. Luckily, we’ve got the answers.
We’ve created an informative safety guide that you can easily download. In it, we break down all the questions you may have about how your child can stay safe while studying abroad.
To download the guide, click the link below.