By Angel Beltran |Staff Writer|
Mexico remains on top of the current travel warnings list issued by the U.S. Department of State, although it remains one of the most popularized destinations for spring break travelers.
Travel warnings are issued by the Department of State when a country is deemed far too dangerous for Americans to travel to.
According to the Department of State website, more than half of all Americans killed in Mexico in 2009, whose deaths were reported to the U.S. Embassy, were killed in the border cities of Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana.
The Texas Department of Public Safety also issued college students warnings about traveling south of the border for spring break.
However, Cancun and Puerto Vallarta made it onto this year’s MSNBC top ten spring break destinations for college students.
“Mishaps tend to happen when students have that sense of freedom and not thinking. It’s easier for them to act irresponsible [on vacation],” said Elanor Perry, immigration specialist at CSUSB’s international center.
“[When] you’re out in a new city, or out in a new country where you may not know the laws or rules, or not be familiar with the place. We encourage travel but if you’re not used to the country, still [act] responsible and pay attention to what’s around you,” added Perry.
According to the Department of State website, alcohol is involved in the vast majority of arrests, accidents, violent crimes, rapes, and deaths suffered by American students on Spring Break. Disturbing the peace, lewd or indecent behavior, littering, driving under the influence, drinking on the street or on public transportation, using public transportation without payment, or making obscene or insulting remarks are all considered criminal activities by Mexican authorities.
CSUSB student Gaby Ilabaca said she recommends being cautious of your whereabouts, walking around in groups, knowing the area beforehand and not going in hotel rooms with strangers.
It doesn’t matter where students travel for spring break, precautions will always need to be taken especially when ‘partying’ is involved.
“The problem is that youth have that sense that nothing will happen to them,” said English professor, DeShea Rushing.
“People go to drink and party and become easy prey and they don’t even realize it.”
“One of my students was given the date rape drug, and she was raped. Before this happened to her, she used to be an active student in class and we connected as people,” said Rushing. “When she came back from vacation, it was like her spirit was drained out of her. She was like a zombie… Before I got a chance to talk to her she dropped out and moved back East.”
Rushing further went on, “I wish she would have talked to me, I wasn’t her counselor but I could have directed her to the correct person to talk to for help.”
If an incident of this nature occurs while on vacation, it is best to report and seek help as soon as possible.
“Have a good time and be aware,” ended Rushing.