study abroad Tips

Congratulations on your rapidly approaching overseas study! We hope that the experience is both academically and personally rewarding and that you return to Malaysia with a larger sense of the world and of yourself as a citizen of the world. Along with these best wishes we offer a few words of advice about making your experience safe and relatively trouble-free. Clearly your living and studying in Jordan has made you streetwise in a way that will serve you well abroad. A large part of staying out of harm's way abroad consists merely of retaining this sensibility. Beyond this, here are a few specific points and observations. Read them, think about them, and discuss them with friends. Feel free to bring your questions to Education Malaysia Jordan.

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General Tips
  1. The climate depends on which part of the country you are in, as altitude ranges from 400 meters (1,312 feet) below mean sea level at the dead sea, to 1850 meter above sea level at the Al Shirah mountains. The climate tends to be dry during Summer, while Winter and Spring are cooler, and during these seasons most of the country's rainfall occurs. June to September are the hottest months of the year where temperature rises to about 32 deg. C. The period between December and February is coolest. Snowfall often occurs and temperatures stay around 5 deg. C during the day and somtimes drop down to -5 deg. C at night.
  2. Be alert. People-watching is part of the pleasure of foreign travel. It's also part of keeping safe.
  3. Trust your instincts. If you become aware of suspicious behavior, if you're getting bad vibes from someone on the street, put some distance between yourself and the situation.
  4. Be discreet with your cash. Don't flash large sums for all to see, and be especially alert around ATMs.
  5. Learn which areas are relatively "safe"--safety is always relative--and which are less so. For night trips choose your itinerary carefully. Stay away from suspicious types.
  6. Naturally you will want to make new friends abroad, and we do not want to discourage you from this. But don't let this quite appropriate goal lead you into an unwelcome intimacy. Allow yourself to be just a bit cautious with strangers.
  7. If you are fearful or confused about anything, share your concerns with EM Jordan.
Street Crime and How to Avoid It
  1. Don't carry more cash with you than you can stand to lose.
  2. The usual warnings about ATM use--keep the ATM card safe and inaccessible, keep your personal identification number in your head rather than on paper, avoid making withdrawals from isolated or unprotected locations--apply to instant cash abroad with equal force.
  3. Money belts and travel pouches are useful devices for frustrating pickpockets. If you use a billfold don't put it in the hip pocket of your jeans or the inside breast pocket of your jacket. It's much harder for a thief to extract a purse from a front trousers pocket or a pocket inside buttoned-up clothing.
  4. Your passport can be as enticing as your money. You should stow it, like your wallet, in a relatively inaccessible pouch or pocket. Or you may wish to leave it at home (that is, your residence abroad) and carry a photocopy. But do have passport identification on you at all times.
  5. If you carry a bag, keep it close and keep it closed. In crowded or threatening situations hug it to your body. Use only a bag that closes with a snap, tie, or buckle. Never leave your bag unattended. If you place it beside you on a bench be aware of your surroundings.
  6. Pickpockets and purse-snatchers often work in pairs. Be aware that an importuning stranger may be a decoy engaged in distracting you from the malicious work of his or her associate. Sad to say, a child may be a partner in this sort of crime.
  7. Avoid crowds as much as possible. Public conveyances, because they tend to compress strangers into dense masses, are especially attractive to pickpockets. We would not ask you to avoid such conveyances, but do keep your antennae up.
Safety in Your Home Away From Home
  1. Whether you live in an apartment, a residence hall, a pension, or a family, you need to take steps to keep your temporary home "off-limits" to strangers.
  2. Whether you are setting out or returning, you should get in the habit of locking your front door as soon as you close it behind you.
  3. Don't admit strangers to your home. Repairmen should be asked for identification.
  4. As soon as you arrive in your new abode you should make an inventory of doors and windows and mentally map out a set of escape routes in case of fire.
  5. The telephone can be the means of invasive attentions and the harbinger of unsolicited contact. The only proper response to a prank caller is an immediate dial tone. If you experience a pattern of harassing calls, report them to the authorities just as you would on campus.
General Health
  1. A periodic physical examination is, for all of us, a prudent measure. For a student planning travel, even to a site not normally considered to present special health risks, it is especially recommended.
  2. If you require a special medication, either in regular doses or as a special remedy for medical flare-ups, you should of course make sure that you have a quantity sufficient for the duration of your program overseas. Going beyond this obvious observation, we recommend that you take with you an extra supply of the medication (say, half again the minimum amount needed). Why? Because life is unpredictable, spills happen, bags wander, flights are delayed… for days.
  3. If you take a prescription medication be sure to have a copy of the prescription on your person when you make your way abroad. You might also wish to have a letter from your doctor concerning the medication and your legitimate need for it. Such a letter could be a potentially useful show-and-tell document for customs officials or to replace lost medicines.
  4. Anyone who needs glasses needs two pairs of glasses. If you use prescription glasses you should carry abroad with you an extra pair as well as your optometrist’s prescription (this of course applies equally to contact lenses).
  5. If you are in such a region be sure to use bottled water (for tooth brushing as well as drinking) and refrain from eating uncooked food or food purchased from a street vendor (unless you wash it thoroughly with bottled water).

In this world of current disasters and weather changes, it is important to be prepared for any last minute surprises....whether they are from earthquakes, hurricanes, firestorms, extreme heat/cold, floods/droughts or political unstabe situations. Here are some ideas for things to do for any emergency:

  1. Maintain a list of emergency telephone numbers at your fingertips. Create an emergency evacuation plan.
  2. Keep all of your important papers in one safe place.
  3. Keep travel carriers close to the door for quick evacuation.
  4. Keep your car’s tank filled up. Make a list of emergencies and what to do for each one.
  5. Keep a first-aid kit on hand and update it every six months.
  6. Keep at least three days supply of water and food on hand.
  7. Always have the following supplies: flashlights/batteries; (non-scented) candles/matches; portable radio/batteries; disinfectant/bleach; gas lanterns/fuel; first-aid kit/spray bottle; and blankets for warmth.
At Court

In case you find yourself requested to be witness or a compalinant, you must consider the following:

  1. Don't Miss Your Court Date. Court is not an appointment that can be missed or rescheduled. If you miss your court date (including being late) for a criminal case or contempt matter, a warrant may be issued for your arrest. If the hearing is not a criminal matter, you will likely lose the case by default. If you have a serious reason why you cannot go to court on the assigned day, call the Judge's clerk. Usually you need to file papers requesting a change, or get the other side to agree to change the date. If you are the defendant or respondent in a case (someone else started the case) and you agree with the other side's requests or don't have any defense, you may think there is no point in going to court. Not going can be dangerous because you might not fully understand everything that can or will be ordered in your absence. It is best to get legal advice before deciding not to go to the hearing.
  2. Allow Plenty of Time to Get to Court. You should arrive at the courtroom 30 minutes before your hearing time. Consider the traffic, weather, parking, frequency of the bus or light rail, and allow plenty of extra time. You may need to wait in lines for weapons screening, and finding the correct building and courtroom can take time. Being late can make you anxious and unable to do your best. The hearing might last longer than you think, so parking at a meter is not a good idea.
  3. Bring your files. You should have a file with copies of all papers you and the other side have filed with the court, or given to each other. Bring a notepad and pens for taking notes during the hearing.
  4. Bring an outline of what you want to say. As you cover each point, check it off. Before you conclude, look back to see if you covered each point. The Judge will only want to hear information that is needed to evaluate the requests made in the court papers. Practice explaining your claim to a friend. If your friend doesn't understand you or find your argument convincing, think about how to improve your presentation.
  5. Bring your evidence. Sometimes a court hearing is a trial where you bring all your witnesses and evidence. Other times the hearing has a different purpose. Read all notices and orders you received about the hearing carefully. If you are not sure what will happen at a hearing, or you are not sure what to bring to the hearing, get help right away. You can call court administration or the Judge's clerk. There are limits on how much they can help you, but you can start there. If you come to the hearing unprepared, you could lose your case or be fined. However, coming unprepared is better than not coming at all.
  6. Dress nicely. Wear conservative clothing. Shorts, T-shirts, plunging necklines, and torn clothing are not appropriate. Lawyers are required to wear suits. You do not have to buy new clothing for court, but remember it is a formal place and you want to be conservative and respectful in dress and behavior.
  7. Proper conduct in the courtroom. Certain behaviors are not allowed because they are noisy, distracting or disrespectful. You cannot: chew gum, eat, read a newspaper, sleep, wear a hat, listen to earphones, carry a cell phone or pager unless it's turned off, have a camera or camera phone, or carry a weapon. During the hearing you should listen carefully, ask permission of the Judge to speak, talk directly to the judge and not the other side, avoid arguing with or interrupting another person, and control your emotions. When you talk to the Judge, start by saying "Your Honor". Speak loudly and clearly and remember that only one person can speak at a time. A court reporter is taking down everything said in the courtroom, and can only record one speaker at a time.
  8. Before you leave court make sure you understand what happens next. Do you need to come back for another court hearing? Do you need to prepare a written legal argument or proposed court order?Do you need to take other steps or actions? Will the Judge make an order as a result of the hearing? Sometimes orders are written up right away - as you wait. Or, the judge may think about the case and write an order later and send it in the mail. Politely ask questions if you do not understand what will happen next.

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