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Keeping International Students Safe at UIS

UIS takes a proactive approach by contacting international students early and often helping them to understand what they can expect. (WICS)

With just under 5,500 students, 20 percent of the University of Illinois' enrollment is made up of international students. New, eager, and unfamiliar with the surroundings, these students can be the most vulnerable.

"When we are taken outside of our normal context, sometimes we just become more susceptible," said Rick Lane, the director of the International Student Services Program at UIS.

UIS takes a proactive approach by contacting international students early and often helping them to understand what they can expect.

"What to expect in terms of procedures, but also what to expect in terms of looking out for folks who might be trying to take advantage of them," Lane said.

Coming from India, Bhabyanshu Barasher said he feels safe on campus and understands that there are risks, but the international program helped prepare him for those.

"They made us aware of various security protocols that you need to be aware of and they told us that the campus police is always with you," UIS graduate student Bhabyanshu Barasher said.

Yu shao comes from China and she says her self-defense class, which is a free class for all students, was also a vital tool.

"They have taught us a lot of skills: how to protect yourself or how to get away from the bad guy when you are caught by them," senior student Shao said.

In general, the services offered to international students helps prepare the students for realistic situations and guides them through their transition.

"Try to stay with someone you do trust while you're learning who these other people are and what they're doing," Lane said.

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