Bad things happen in life. They can happen whether you’re looking for trouble or even if you’re just sitting on your couch watching TV. Sometimes certain situations can be avoided but other times they’re inevitable. Some of my family and friends had expressed to me their fear for me going abroad. I’ve heard quite a few times that the world is unsafe and that there are crazy people. While that is true, especially in certain parts of the world more than others, I was going to be studying in Madrid, Spain. I hadn’t heard anything on the news recently about it but being the overly cautious person I am, I did my research and I did it well. I may have even over-researched.
Everything I had read online said that Madrid was a generally safe city. The only crime I kept seeing mentioned was pickpocketing. I read blog posts that said how bad it was and that there would even be groups of pickpockets working together that would try to distract you while their buddy steals your wallet. Some websites said that the pickpockets would even follow you from afar and even wait until you crossed the street to get you. This worried me, so I went online and ordered an anti-theft purse, which has worked out wonderfully! I would totally recommend getting one if you’re traveling. However, I want to add that in the three and a half months I was there, I was not pickpocketed and I was safe.
My biggest advice is what you’ll read anywhere online: be alert; use your head. Try not to look like a tourist. Look like you know where you’re going, even if you don’t. If you really don’t know where you’re going then ask someone. Most people will be glad to help you and as I’ve said, I’ve ran into a decent amount of people who will give directions in English.
I felt safe living in the city and getting around on my own. I walked home alone at night but I didn’t do things I wouldn’t have done back in the U.S., for example, walk on streets that aren’t busy. I was careful anywhere I had gone in Spain and anywhere else I have been to in Europe and I was okay. I can’t speak for everyone and all of Europe but these have been my personal experiences. Sometimes, bad things can happen that can’t always be helped but I don’t think that should stop anyone from going abroad, especially to Madrid.