We are in a very safe area of the world, and Kensington is a safe part of the city of London. However, just as you have to be aware of your surroundings when you are at Xavier or exploring Cincinnati, you need to pay attention when you are in London.
While we encourage you to explore the city, you need to be aware of your surroundings. When you are in public places with lots of other people, such as on the Tube or in a market place, keep your purse zipped with the zipper going to the front and your wallet in a front pocket. In case you are pickpocketed, you will need to have your credit, debit, and/or ATM card number(s), along with the company’s international phone number, so that you can immediately cancel your card. By keeping a minimal amount of cash and only a few cards with you, you can mitigate the impact of being pickpocketed.
London has a great nightlife, but it is best to enjoy it with a group of friends to stay safe. If you’re going out, make sure to have your cellphone in case you get separated from your group and extra money in case you need to take a taxi or Uber back to Courtsfield Gardens. Take the same precautions you would if you were going out in the United States: watch your drink and friends’ drinks, don’t walk down deserted streets (especially at night), and think twice before wearing flashy accessories which might make you a bigger target for thieves. REMEMBER: DRINKING TOO MUCH WILL MAKE YOU MORE OF A TARGET AND WILL INCREASE YOUR RISK OF BEING PICKPOCKETED OR GETTING HURT.
Courtfield Gardens is near several pharmacies. If you have a health emergency, let one of the professors or the AIFS Resident Assistant know, and they will help you find the best place to go.
The odds of a city-wide or national emergency are incredibly small. That being said, when Japan’s 2011 tsunami hit, there were a group of Xavier students there. If there is a large-scale emergency we will try first to meet at Courtsfield Gardens. If that is not an option, go to the American Embassy. It is located at 33 Nine Elms Lane, Nine Elms, London, SW11 7 US. If the embassy is not an option, head to Heathrow Airport by getting the Heathrow Express at Paddington Station or by taking the Piccadilly line to the Heathrow Terminals.