I have written a while ago about some tips for safety when arriving and starting off at UAG. Now that a new class is coming in, just a few reminder notes-- they are important and will help in keeping yourself and your possessions safe! (and I think they are valuable no matter if you are living in Mex or not)
#1: Always be aware of your surroundings-- you never know who is watching you and keeping note of your comings and goings. People know that students live by ICB and they know you have nice computers etc. in your possession, so keep an eye out and don't give people like taxi drivers, water delivery guys, !!whoever!!! too much information.
#2: CHANGE YOUR LOCKS!!! When you finally find that awesome or so-so apt, the first thing you need to do after signing the lease is go buy and install new locks on your doors. You never know who has a key, so if you put your own locks on you will know that only you have the keys. This is so important! Go ahead and buy GOOD locks, drop the pesos on them because it is security for your items. To replace your items (like a laptop for ex.) will cost you double to triple the cost it does in the states, and your family can't mail a replacement for you (it gets screwed up in mex customs)-- so good locks will save you money and hassle in the long run.
#3: If you feel that a landlord or someone else is being fishy-- they probably are, trust your instincts! Pretty much trust only yourself as well-- its a bit paranoid, but can also save you from getting in trouble
#4: Never leave your doors to your house or to your car unlocked. Never! Also keep anything valuable out of sight in your car-- a lot of cars get broken into here and even on campus. I do not recommend ever leaving your computer in your car, you are just asking for a robbery.
#5: Don't leave your things unattended, EVER. Even at the school-- things walk -- quickly. jackets, laptops,cell phones, purses, books, diagnostic sets, stethoscopes-- if it isn't a part of your body it can be stolen from you and you will never see it again. never ever ever. if you are studying alone in the library take your stuff if you haev teh urge to pee-- if you have a TRUSTED friend or classmate with you, you can ask if they keep an eye on it-- but never just leave something unattended, it will be gone.
I have had my apartment broken into and all of my things stolen, i have had bad experiences with landlords, i have several friends whose cars have been broken into in providencia, the centro, around town, at ICB etc.. To a degree you can prevent some of these things, sometimes though you just draw a short straw. If someone wants to steal somehting badly enough, sometimes there is just nothing you can do. But I reccommend that you protect yourself as best as you can.
In this way, you can get to doing what you are here for-- to become a physician. (and in the process you learn some hefty crime prevention skills-- never a bad thing i guess)
Good luck! Don't panic! Somehow everything will work out!
If any other student wants to add to my list of safety tips, please do, this is something they should send out in the orientation packet, because until you are here, there are somethings that you don't realize unless someone who has already had some "bad mexico days" lets you know...