Part 1: If I were in this situation, there are many risks I could face. As a female, regardless of the fact that I am in a foreign country, being intoxicated and alone leaves vulnerable to possible predators. It is common knowledge that alcohol is one of the most used rape drugs. Many guys can spot a girl who is too drunk. They often seek out these girls in order to exploit them. Besides the risk for sexual assault, there is also a chance that I may be in violation of some law in my host country. In the US, you can be arrested for public intoxication, so I would assume that there are similar laws in other countries. If I were to get arrested in a different country, my parents would not be there to bail me out. Not only that, but also I face the consequences of maybe being removed from my program. When I return home with news like that, my dad would surely never trust me to leave the country again. Surely, the school would not trust me to study abroad either. Getting into trouble like hat could even cost me my acceptance into VCU in general. When you study abroad, you are not just representing yourself. You are representing your home university and the United States. It is important that you conduct yourself in a respectable way. In this situation, I am not sure what I would do since I don’t have much information about what country I am in or what c=kind of environment I am in. However, I would try to get in contact with my program director, host family, or whoever is responsible for my well being on this trip. If I don’t have anyone like that to contact, I would try to contact the authorities. I know this would most likely result in me getting into some sort of trouble. However, being escorted by the authorities is much safer than trying to navigate my way back to the university on my own. If I can’t get a hold of the authorities, I would try to use my phone to find directions to the university I am staying at. So I won’t be alone, I would try to find another female in the bar who would not mind walking with me. This usually is successful in these types of situations. Among females, it is well known that this can be a scary experience. I am sure that someone would be kind enough to help me. To prevent this situation, I could be more responsible about how much I drink. Drinks in other countries may have more alcohol content in it. As well, I am very small for my age and way much less than the 100 pounds that is used on the BAC graph. It would also be good for me to not drink at all while I study abroad. Personally, I have no interest in drinking at all, so I don’t think I would find myself in this situation. One obvious thing I could have done is tell someone I went to the bathroom!
Part 2: One of the biggest risks I think I will face is the fact that I will be somewhat unaware of the inner workings of my country. I can read all of the guides and resources I want, but nothing will truly prepare for what I will face. I will not be ale to accurately learn about the potential risks until I get there. In general, I like to be in control at all times. I do not like the feeling of being oblivious. This in itself can be a problem. I could potentially develop anxiety because of the growing sense of not being in control. In order to work around this problem, I would try to learn all that I can about my host country and try to benefit from all of the knowledge of my host family or program directors. Another risk I have thought about is the fact that there have been recent epidemics outside of the US. For example, the “Why Studying Abroad Is Safer Than You May Think (article from The Chronicle of Higher Education” it questions whether or not students should travel to Brazil because of the Zika virus that is present there. This is a very good question to ask. How likely is it that I’ll contract the virus if I travel there? How likely is it that a terrorist attack could occur? The best thing I can do to avoid this is by making sure all of my vaccination are up to date and that I stay in areas that are well known and avoid underdeveloped areas of the region. As far as terrorist attacks go, I don’t think I could avoid them since they are usually out of the blue. One risk that others may not think about is running out of money. Since the currency system out side of the US is considerably different, it will be hard to know whether or not I am getting a good deal on something I am buying. Not to mention that the locals could probably spot an American from a mile away and try to exploit the fact that I am not very knowledgeable about the currency. It would be hard to combat vendors who try to scam me. However, I could try to buy things only when I am with other people form my program or with my host family. Also, I could try to compare prices in different shops. If one item seems to be much more expensive than an item at another store, I could probably reason that the more expensive item is not supposed to be that expensive. In all, the best thing to do is to prepare. The more you prepare, the less worried I’ll be and the better equipped I will be to handle any surprises that are thrown at me.
Part 3: In some way, I feel like what happened to Amanda Knox was almost a freak accident. Not an accident in the way that her roommate was murdered, but in such a way that this was something that no one could have ever planned for or thought of happening. What happened to Amanda Knox in the courtroom is not uncommon however. There are people every day that are convicted for crimes they haven’t committed. It is not a secret that the justice system, not just in the US but also all over the world, is filled with people who are more focused on finding a culprit than finding the right culprit. When it comes to cases where US citizens commit crimes (or seem to commit crimes) oversees, the country prosecuting them is more bent on punishing the Americans and making an example of them. A lot of this is due to the negative image that some countries have of Americans and the US government. I feel as though this isn’t something that would serve as a “lesson” for students looking to study abroad. To be honest, I don’t know why this is considered relevant to a study abroad class. If anything, it would just scare students into not studying abroad at all. I feel as though this would be something my dad would show me if I told him I was going to another country. He would probably use something similar to a straw-man argument and say, “You want to study abroad? Look at what happened to that girl Amanda Knox when she studied abroad.” For the most part, this really didn’t have anything to do with the fact that she was studying in a different country. This had much more to do with Amanda Knox being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The fact that she was in another country really only plays a part in how she was tried. In another country, it may be likely that you’ll be tried more harshly. The lesson in that is: don’t commit a crime, and don’t look like you committed a crime either.