Navigating public transport while studying abroad can be quite challenging. You might know how such systems work back home but getting the hang of them in a completely new place is a different story. Not only that, but you might come from an area that does not really have a lot of public transport or focuses on a specific type of it. Fear not, however! In this article, we will present you with five tips to help you out with this.
As is usually the case with the advice we give out, everything starts with good preparation. You do not want to arrive at your destination with zero knowledge about how the public transport system works. A bit of research beforehand can give you an important headstart and limit the amount of spontaneous guesswork you might need to do later on. Furthermore, this does not only mean researching before flying over from your home country or going on a trip somewhere. Good preparation means having a backup plan in case you misunderstood some vital piece of information or there is some issue with the public transportation systems.
One great tip about navigating public transport while studying abroad has to do with paying for it. Namely, it is considered courteous in most places to have at least some change with you so that you can pay for the usually inexpensive tickets. Handing a hundred-dollar bill to pay for a bus ticket, for example, can be considered a little rude as it puts either the driver or cashier in the position of having to calculate and give you a lot of change (when they could be doing other things). So, for the sake of efficiency and politeness, having some change on you always helps.
A lot of places around the world allow students to get a monthly or seasonal travel pass which they can use to go on public transport whenever they would like. It is usually a better deal than constantly paying for individual tickets, especially if you use public transport often. Utilizing this tip can save you a lot of money in the long run.
As you are navigating public transport while studying abroad, be sure to keep in mind the cultural customs surrounding it. For example, in some parts of the world, it is completely common to casually interact with others on public transport. In others, however, this can be seen as a serious sign of disrespect and frivolity. This ties into our first piece of advice about doing your research and following the age-old saying: When in Rome, do as the Romans.
The one unfortunate thing about public transport is that it is where a lot of crime tends to happen. While you are unlikely to be stabbed to death, it is possible that you might have some valuables stolen such as your phone or wallet if you are not careful. For that reason, always try to maintain an appearance of confidence and pay attention to your surroundings. A little bit of situational awareness goes a long way to save you from being a victim of petty theft.
We hope that our blog article has cleared up some issues that you might have had relating to this topic. Navigating public transport can sometimes be complicated even in a place you are familiar with so it is no wonder that international students can have difficulties with it. That said, know that these tips should serve as a good foundation for all of the awesome travelling you might do once you actually arrive at your destination (if you are having any trouble packing, click here). Furthermore, always remember that you can ask the locals for help and they should be more than happy to assist you.