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8 replies
Is Europe really as scary as they say?
hillaryrose
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This summer I will be studying abroad in Paris with a group from my school. The program is only five weeks, but being the independent woman I am, I convinced my parents to let me travel before and after the program. (Also, I am from the USA)

I didn’t think too much of it until I ran it by a friend. When she heard the word “solo traveling,” she looked at me and told me “bad idea” and “you shouldn’t travel Europe alone.” It was hurtful and seemed almost like an attack. However, she wasn’t the only person I’ve talked to that reacted that way. And while, there have been people telling me that solo travel is fine as long as you are smart and aware, I still can’t think maybe it’s a bad idea.

Is it just a common misconception that Europe is a place full of sex trafficking and killings and kidnappings?

I think it sounds a little ridiculous and stereotypical. But, then again, I’ve never been to Europe. Since I will be traveling alone and I am a college student, what should I do to ensure safe travels and enjoy my time in Europe? I don’t want to be freaking out and being paranoid to the extent that I don’t enjoy my time.

Advice?

Thanks! Smile

oldlady
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There are so many misconceptions in your post that I don’t even know where to start.

You are probably far safer in Europe than you on you college campus. Rapes, muggings and “crimes against persons” are far less likely in Europe. Pickpockets and purse snatchers are a problem anywhere there are tourists, so you do need to be careful of your valuables and you do need to use a little common sense in avoiding problem situations. You wouldn’t get drunk with a bunch of strangers at home. Don’t do it in Europe, either.

Sex trafficking exists everywhere. The victims are usually from third world countries or situations of hopeless property and are lured to wealthier countries by promises of jobs. The victims are not tourists who get snatched off the street in American or European cities.

I don’t know where your “friends” gets their information. A friend should be encouraging you to strike out and experience new things, not trying to scare you into avoiding new situations.

augustin25
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The misconceptions are really unfortunate and sadly common. I had a colleague tell me yesterday that she told her 21 year old daughter she could only study abroad in Australia or New Zealand because European countries aren’t safe. Even worse, this came from a college professor whose husband is a cop (and here’s the particularly annoying part) in a city with way more violent crime than you’ll find in any major European city.

mim
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As you can see,the United States is a MUCH more dangerous place than any Western European country.

HOMICIDE RATES

  • # 1 Colombia: 0.617847 per 1,000 people
  • # 2 South Africa: 0.496008 per 1,000 people
  • # 3 Jamaica: 0.324196 per 1,000 people
  • # 4 Venezuela: 0.316138 per 1,000 people
  • # 5 Russia: 0.201534 per 1,000 people
  • # 6 Mexico: 0.130213 per 1,000 people
  • # 7 Estonia: 0.107277 per 1,000 people
  • # 8 Latvia: 0.10393 per 1,000 people
  • # 9 Lithuania: 0.102863 per 1,000 people
  • # 10 Belarus: 0.0983495 per 1,000 people
  • # 11 Ukraine: 0.094006 per 1,000 people
  • # 12 Papua New Guinea: 0.0838593 per 1,000 people
  • # 13 Kyrgyzstan: 0.0802565 per 1,000 people
  • # 14 Thailand: 0.0800798 per 1,000 people
  • # 15 Moldova: 0.0781145 per 1,000 people
  • # 16 Zimbabwe: 0.0749938 per 1,000 people
  • # 17 Seychelles: 0.0739025 per 1,000 people
  • # 18 Zambia: 0.070769 per 1,000 people
  • # 19 Costa Rica: 0.061006 per 1,000 people
  • # 20 Poland: 0.0562789 per 1,000 people
  • # 21 Georgia: 0.0511011 per 1,000 people
  • # 22 Uruguay: 0.045082 per 1,000 people
  • # 23 Bulgaria: 0.0445638 per 1,000 people
  • # 24 United States: 0.042802 per 1,000 people
  • # 25 Armenia: 0.0425746 per 1,000 people
  • # 26 India: 0.0344083 per 1,000 people
  • # 27 Yemen: 0.0336276 per 1,000 people
  • # 28 Dominica: 0.0289733 per 1,000 people
  • # 29 Azerbaijan: 0.0285642 per 1,000 people
  • # 30 Finland: 0.0283362 per 1,000 people
  • # 31 Slovakia: 0.0263303 per 1,000 people
  • # 32 Romania: 0.0250784 per 1,000 people
  • # 33 Portugal: 0.0233769 per 1,000 people
  • # 34 Malaysia: 0.0230034 per 1,000 people
  • # 35 Macedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of: 0.0229829 per 1,000 people
  • # 36 Mauritius: 0.021121 per 1,000 people
  • # 37 Hungary: 0.0204857 per 1,000 people
  • # 38 Korea, South: 0.0196336 per 1,000 people
  • # 39 Slovenia: 0.0179015 per 1,000 people
  • # 40 France: 0.0173272 per 1,000 people
  • # 41 Czech Republic: 0.0169905 per 1,000 people
  • # 42 Iceland: 0.0168499 per 1,000 people
  • # 43 Australia: 0.0150324 per 1,000 people
  • # 44 Canada: 0.0149063 per 1,000 people
  • # 45 Chile: 0.014705 per 1,000 people
  • # 46 United Kingdom: 0.0140633 per 1,000 people
  • # 47 Italy: 0.0128393 per 1,000 people
  • # 48 Spain: 0.0122456 per 1,000 people
  • # 49 Germany: 0.0116461 per 1,000 people
  • # 50 Tunisia: 0.0112159 per 1,000 people
  • # 51 Netherlands: 0.0111538 per 1,000 people
  • # 52 New Zealand: 0.0111524 per 1,000 people
  • # 53 Denmark: 0.0106775 per 1,000 people
  • # 54 Norway: 0.0106684 per 1,000 people
  • # 55 Ireland: 0.00946215 per 1,000 people
  • # 56 Switzerland: 0.00921351 per 1,000 people
  • # 57 Indonesia: 0.00910842 per 1,000 people
  • # 58 Greece: 0.0075928 per 1,000 people
  • # 59 Hong Kong: 0.00550804 per 1,000 people
  • # 60 Japan: 0.00499933 per 1,000 people
  • # 61 Saudi Arabia: 0.00397456 per 1,000 people
  • # 62 Qatar: 0.00115868 per 1,000 people
  • *

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eurkd
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I agree that it is a sad misconception and its too bad you friend and others have chosen to portry Europe in such a way. Firstly “Europe” is made up of many unique countries and just like anywhere else they can have their problems. Secondly there will be areas in ALL european countries that can be dangerous, just like at home. You need to be a smart traveler and trust your gut instinct as well as your common sense. I am a young independent women who has traveled to europe and been on her own and I have found it to be incredibly safe and fascinating. But be cautious. Just like oldlady said don’t go with the group of guys you meet at the bottom of the Eiffel tower who are promising to bring you to a really great party (personal experience, I didn’t go). If you wouldn’t do it at home don’t do it in europe. Have new experiences and have fun but don’t falsely believe that europe is universally safe or unsafe. New situations always cause apprehension but have a great time and then you can come back and enlighten all your friends as to how much safe good fun you had! Smile

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luv_the_beach
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hillaryrose wrote:

Is it just a common misconception that Europe is a place full of sex trafficking and killings and kidnappings?

I can’t say that these are common misconceptions, because no one in my circle of acquaintances thinks of sex trafficking and “killings” when they hear “Europe”. So it’s either just where you [and augustin] live, or the people that you know.

Most people I know here in Chicago have a romanticized, if naive and a bit patronizing view of Europe (that Europeans don’t have video games, they live a “simple life”, etc, except for London and Paris which are “glamorous”). But I haven’t heard anything like the above.

But I have heard my share of dumbass things. A coworker of my sister’s canceled a trip to Greece in 2003, because “on a map, Iraq looks close”, and she was afraid the war in Iraq would spread to Greece. I tried explaining that this would be like a European tourist canceling a trip to New York or Florida because of the civil war in Guatemala or the drugs/FARC conflicts in Colombia. It’s completely non-sensical, but it fell on deaf ears. People will believe what they want to believe, and even when they are surrounded with contradictory evidence, they will look hard for the one obscure thing that reinforces their preconveived conclusion.

Experienced travelers do this too. They may not have any negative perceptions about visiting beaten-path places like Europe, but they think they know all about a particular culture before they arrive in that country, and when they go there, they draw their own conclusions based on selective observations. Such dumb conclusions have been voiced here on Eurotrip by seasoned travelers unfamiliar with a certain country or region in Europe. So, seasoned travelers are not immune from this.

eurkd wrote:
IJust like oldlady said don’t go with the group of guys you meet at the bottom of the Eiffel tower who are promising to bring you to a really great party (personal experience, I didn’t go).

Oh lord, I hope no one’s stupid enough to do that.


beach-lunch-siesta-beach-shower-dinner-nightlife-repeat

wrygdwylife
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What? Who told you that Europe is “scary”?? Americans are insane. You’re much safer in Europe than you probably are in the US. I’m a single girl and I’ve traveled all over Europe. and Paris? please. You’re fine. The rate for like ALL crimes are lower in Europe than in the US – one of the most crime-ridden countries of the ‘modern’ world.


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Don
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Quote:
What? Who told you that Europe is “scary”?? Americans are insane.
Oh the irony.

mim
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Good point, Don…

I am leaving from New York, NY and traveling for 64 days
Reykjavik, London, Lille, Berlin, Kraków, Lviv, Istanbul, Selçuk, Pamukkale, Kızkalesi, Göreme, Kars, Bat'umi, Akhalts'ikhe, Tbilisi, Telavi, Istanbul

Eurotrip Managing Editor