Relocating to a new country can disrupt one’s habits a bit. There are new places to see, work to be done, travel to be booked and delicious eats to taste.
Students in my study abroad group often complained about getting sick or ditching the healthier habits they held at home. But studying abroad doesn’t mean you have to change your routine entirely. A few easy tips can keep you from feeling under-the-weather and more able to enjoy all the wonders your new home has to offer.
1) Bring Vitamins (the gummy kind): As you pack your things before your adventure, throw in one or two bottles of vitamins. I like the gummy kind, because they’re tasty, so I never forget to take them. Vitamins are often expensive abroad, leaving many students willing to pass on them. But bring a few with you to ward off colds and keep your system in check.
2) Get some zzzzs: Sleeping isn’t really anyone’s priority abroad, especially when there is vibrant nightlife to enjoy or early morning flights to catch. Try adding in a few good nights of sleep in between the nights you get a meager few hours in. Allowing your body adequate rest prevents you from getting sick and feeling like an unenthusiastic grump.
3) Use exploring as an excuse to exercise: Jogging is a great way to see a city and get acquainted with your surroundings. If the thought of running makes you cringe, try walking to class instead of taking the metro or exploring by foot on the weekends. Most cities have gyms if you’re interested in becoming a member, but I found that running and walking was much more enjoyable and a great way to find my way around.
4) Don’t go overboard: Would you eat a large cup of gelato every day at home? Probably not. There’s no reason to do it abroad, either (other than the fact that it is incredibly delicious). Balance your indulgences with healthier foods, but don’t forget to allow yourself an occasional treat, too.
5) Scope out the markets and cook what you find: Many cities have great outdoor markets with fresh fruits, vegetables and other goodies. Buy a few things and cook them at home a few nights per week to save a bit of cash and opt for a healthier meal than you’d have at a restaurant.
6) Make a routine: Carry your habits from home with you while abroad. If you go for daily walks, write in a journal or call your best friend during the week, try to implement those same things to your daily life while abroad. Some things will change, but keeping a few favorite activities consistent will help you adjust.