In the Club: Nightlife Safety for Women in Europe

Posted on September 1, 2011

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Clubbing is a highlight for many international students in Europe. It’s a great way to experience the local culture, meet people, and to have fun getting down with your bad self.

But safety can be an issue if you aren’t aware of the risks. This article outlines these risks and shows you some simple steps to protect yourself while you’re out and about exploring European nightlife.

 By Susannah Watson

Here are the most important steps you can take to keep you and your friends safe:

  • Use the buddy system. This is the most important thing to remember. Always keep your friends nearby and if you have to leave the club or use the bathroom, drag someone along with you. When you return home at the end of the night, bring at least one friend along. Traveling in a group will deter most problems before they start, and it is much easier to deal with unwanted advances or to protect yourself if you’re not alone.
  • Never leave your drink unattended. Always keep an eye on your drink. Unfortunately there are ill-intentioned people who may slip drugs into your cocktail when you aren’t paying attention. If you leave your drink at the bar to use the restroom, buy a new drink when you come back. It’s not worth the risk. Similarly, if someone offers to buy you a drink, make sure you watch the bartender prepare it.
  • Don’t get intoxicated. It’s important to keep your wits about you at all times. When you have too many drinks, you lose your sense of judgment and awareness. Take it slowly and know your limits. If you notice a friend drinking too much, help them home as soon as possible.
  • Pockets, not Purses.  As well as being a bulky nuisance that can get in the way of dancing, purses will make you a more attractive target to thieves.  If you stick your money and other valuables in your pockets, it will be difficult to have them stolen. If you go out in an outfit that doesn’t have any pockets, find some other way to keep your valuables on you.
  • 5.     Know your way home.  At the end of the night in a strange city, you don’t want to deal with losing your way home. Make sure you write down the name and address of your hotel or hostel, or bring along a card from the reception desk. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment early in the night, but it’s much easier to get home at the end of the night if you know where you’re supposed to be going.
  • 6.     Emergency Taxi Cash. Always make sure to leave yourself with enough extra cash at the end of the night so that taking a taxi home is an option.  In big cities like London and Paris, public transportation shuts down late at night, so it may not be an option to get home.
  • Don’t leave with strangers. Never leave the bar or club with someone you just met. It’s a risky situation and if that person is actually worth your time, he or she will certainly understand your concerns and happily wait for a proper coffee date the next day.

European nightlife is a lot of fun, and clubbing in Europe is a different experience than going to a club in the United States. Europe in general is safe for international students, but that doesn’t mean you can throw caution to the wind and break all rules of common sense. It pays to be a little cautious when you’re out and about with your friends at night. If you follow these simple steps, it’s easy to stay safe and still have fun.

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