Are you scared to travel? Debunking safety concerns abroad

Scared to travel? Don’t let irrational fears keep you from having the time of your life

The Intern Group takes intern safety very seriously. Our internship destination cities are among the safest cities in the world ensuring you won’t be scared to travel. In fact, four of them made The Economist’s list of 25 top safest cities on the globe. Meanwhile, all living arrangements are based in extremely secure neighborhoods in all of our six internship destination cities.



Unwarranted, irrational safety concerns abroad include:

  • Natural disasters: Tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanoes and other natural disasters are very rare to begin with. However, in the case of a natural disaster, the people truly at risk are generally those living within poor infrastructure. The destination cities and neighborhoods where interns stay are built to modern safety regulations.

  • Terrorism: Despite what the international news media may make you think, terrorist acts in the grand majority of countries around the world are incredibly rare and pose a minimal threat, especially within our internship destination cities.

  • Air travel: Anxiety provoked by air travel is natural but most definitely unwarranted. There is no safer or more regulated way to travel than by plane.


    scared to travel



    Though intern destination cities are very safe, interns should still be aware of their surroundings and be no less concerned about safety than they would be in their home cities, as there are basic security concerns in any major global city which can make people scared to travel.


    Activities to avoid abroad (and really anywhere):

  • hitch-hiking

  • walking home late at night, especially alone

  • taking a taxi that isn’t part of a reputable taxi service

  • giving out personal information, especially an address, to a stranger

  • leaving a drink unattended at a restaurant or pub

  • inviting complete strangers to your home, especially if you’re alone

  • wearing expensive jewelry when you’re out and about in a big city

  • setting down a cellphone or laptop on a counter, table, etc in a public space like restaurant or coffee shop

  • exploring a new part of the city after dark


    scared to travel



    About our destination cities:

    Melbourne (Australia)

    Of the major global cities, Melbourne ranked 9th in safety worldwide according to The Economist’s Safe Cities Intelligence Unit. Meanwhile, Australia is the 9th safest country in the world, reported the 2015 Global Peace Index.


    Madrid (Spain)

    Of the 162 countries ranked in the 2015 Global Peace Index, Spain made it to 21st place. Europe is the most peaceful geographical region in the world.


    New York City (U.S.A.)

    New York City is an increasingly secure city, ranking 10th in a list of the safest major cities in the world. New York City is also the highest ranking or “safest” major city in the United States according to the 2015 Safe Cities Intelligence Unit report.


    Medellín (Colombia)

    Colombia’s reputation for danger is fading rapidly. The country’s second largest city, Medellín, has especially transformed since the years of Pablo Escobar. The city is known for its vast improvements in safety and technology. Moreover, intern accommodations are located in Medellín’s safest and most exclusive neighborhood, El Poblado.


    Hong Kong (China)

    Hong Kong is another extremely safe major city, coming in at 11 in the Safe Cities overall ranking and 6 in personal safety thanks to the city’s low crime rates.


    London (UK)

    London is an extremely peaceful city, as it ranked 19 in safety worldwide in The Economist’s Safe Cities Intelligence Unit. Overall, the UK qualifies as being in a “high” state of peace, according to the 2015 Global Peace Index.




    Sources: The Economist Intelligence Unit, 2015 Global Peace Index

    Photo 1. based on NYPD, by Guilherme Nicholas, CC-by-2.0

    Photo 2. based on Fear, by Wagner T. Cassimiro “Aranha”, CC-by-2.0

    Photo 3. based on Think: The safe way is the best way, by Kristina D.C. Hoeppner, CC-by-SA 2.0


    The International Internships Blog is a collaboration by The Intern Group staff, alumni and current participants to give you career advice & tips, program information, & so much more!

    To learn how to apply to our internship programs, click here.


    Elizabeth Trovall

    After short stints in Argentina and Belize, Elizabeth is finishing up her fourth year in Santiago, Chile. Elizabeth writes about international internships, life abroad and professional development for The Intern Group. She also reports on politics, business and culture in Latin America for public radio and print media. An Austin, Texas native, Elizabeth first left home to earn her journalism degree from the Reynolds Institute of Journalism at the University of Missouri. Besides her friends and family, she misses live music and Mexican food the most.
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