Jailbreak: the best thing you’ll ever do? Or a serious safety concern?

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Varsha Patel tells us why you’d be mad to miss an opportunity to raise money for charity while making memories that will remain with you long after you graduate.

Why Jailbreak is the best thing you’ll ever do 

Can’t afford a 10-week inter-railing trip, or that massively Instagram-worthy Thailand holiday? Then Jailbreak is your solution. Essentially, Jailbreak is glorified begging. You and your teammates have 36 hours and zero money to get as far away from “jail” (more commonly known as Warwick campus) as possible. That dignity you claim to have? Leave it behind. To succeed, you need to beg for free tickets, all in the name of winning.

Jailbreak is massively unpredictable. Whilst inter-railing and backpacking are generally both quite organised, the beauty of Jailbreak is that it is exciting, spontaneous, and you just don’t know where you’ll end up. It may surprise you how kind people are, or how horrendously awful they are. You’ll learn more about the world in a mere 36 hours than any 2 week holiday, and that’s got to count for something.

Rishi, President of the Jailbreak society said: “Jailbreak is an exciting, adrenaline-fuelled weekend with a huge feeling of pride and accomplishment at the end of it. It’s a weekend you’ll never be able to replicate anywhere other than at University, so everyone should take the opportunity to do it at least once whilst they are here.”

Finally, and possibly most importantly, Jailbreak is a way to get students actively involved in charity work. Yes, it attracts some criticism, with some claiming that students are merely hiding behind ‘charity’ to take part in a mid-term escape. Let’s not beat around the bush: the idea of a “free” escape is certainly a motivating factor. If that’s what it takes to successfully raise money for charity, then Jailbreak is hardly harmful. Raising money for charity is always a good thing, regardless of whether you are running a 5k marathon, or selling cookies behind a stall – let’s not take away from all the effort that goes into raising money for a worthy cause.

At the end of the day, if students are motivated to do something other than waste their weekend on a Smack hangover, or run back to Mum and Dad during reading week – then I don’t see how Jailbreak could possibly be a bad thing.

Given the exposure to charity, and the memories and experiences you’ll gain as a result, there really aren’t any reason not to take part in Jailbreak. You don’t need to fear travelling; you just have to know how to be safe doing it. However, if you do plan to make it out of the country make sure you are prepared for foreign travel, from EHICs to travel insurance; make sure to also check out the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s travel checklist so as not to get caught out abroad. It’s worth quickly checking country specific advice here and keeping an eye on up-to-date travel advice on the @FCOtravel twitter page as well.


Isabelle Cowling offers her opinion on why jailbreak is not on her university To-Do list.

A serious safety concern

As much as I’m down for anything charitable, spontaneous and challenging, Jailbreak is one thing that has never really appealed to me. Despite hearing of many amazing stories from other Jailbreak escapades where students have found themselves in Sydney with the help of  Richard Branson, or in Hong Kong after stowing away in a plane’s cargo hold, I can’t help but think of the risks and downsides.

For young females in particular, it’s no secret jailbreaks can put us in a potentially vulnerable position. Anaïs Ronchin took part in jailbreak with two other girls last year. While travelling from England to France in a stranger’s car she was all too aware that “even if we were tracked, there was no way for people to be informed real time of what was happening. We were lucky to be with a guy that didn’t want to harm us, but the situation could’ve been different.”

I have no doubt there is an abundance of good hearted strangers willing to help out students trying to raise some cash for a good cause, but the dread of being in a situation where it could have so easily not panned out well, scares me completely. Maybe it’s pure over caution or the endless ringing of my parents’ “don’t get in a stranger’s car” warnings, but the thought of ending up dead on the side of a motorway or god knows what else really doesn’t take my fancy.

Having spoken to a few friends from other universities, another problem that becomes apparent is how some participants have a considerable advantage in the form of help from others. A friend of mine who completed Jailbreak with Bristol University noted that other groups had rich family members willing to buy flights to extravagant places just to get them ahead of the game. While this is all well and good if it raises money for charity, I can’t help but feel it defeats the good-naturedness and spontaneity of the challenge, where some use pure enthusiasm and charm to bag opportunities.

Although I commend those who are taking part, I’ll be sitting this one out and opting for some of RAG’s events.

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