The study abroad experience is very exciting, filled with never before faced adventures and challenges. However, you will also be faced with some challenges to your physical body. In order to make the most of your experience abroad, you need to remain healthy. Even if you have not suffered from a major illness in the past, we recommend that you take the appropriate precautions before embarking on the exciting adventure that awaits you abroad.
It would be in your best interest to get a physical checkup prior to going abroad checking for any ailments you might be unaware of and seeing your doctor to make sure you get any treatment needed that might not be as easy to find while abroad. Be sure to bring copies of your health records with you, just in case of emergency. Although your school may request a set of these documents, you should prepare an extra set and keep them with you. The following documents written in English (Ask your Physician) should be brought abroad:
- Personal Medical History
- Immunization/Vaccination Records
- Drug Prescriptions: summary of any regularly used medications. You will need to be issued a prescription in the country you are staying in.
You will be adjusting to life in a completely new environment inside of a new culture while studying abroad. In making the adjustment away from the familiar lifestyle of your home country, may come some changes which affect your health. Lifestyle changes in your eating habits, sleeping patterns, local climate, and stress level, can also affect your physical health as well as your emotional well being.
Remember that it takes time to adjust to a new environment and that all of your fellow students are in the same situation. There are many people available to help you in making your adjustment as smooth as possible. Your school''s international student advisor, student health service personnel, and guidance counselors are willing to provide assistance whenever necessary.
Your health has a direct effect on your academic success. If you are healthy, well-rested, and alert, you can achieve peak academic performance. Planning for a successful adjustment into the foreign culture will help you overcome some of the initial challenges of changing your environment. "Culture shock" is the name given to the feeling of disorientation and discomfort associated with initial arrival into a new culture. "Cultural adjustment" is the process of learning about and growing comfortable in the host culture.
During the process of adjusting to a new culture you may experience mixed emotions as well as periods of stress. For example, you may temporarily experience changes in moods or attitudes. Some students report anxiety and loneliness, as well as changes in sleeping and eating patterns.
Fortunately, this is only a temporary condition and there are many effective ways of reducing this stress! The first and best way to cope with unavoidable stress is to keep your body in good physical condition by eating well, exercising, and getting enough rest. Be sure to make time for activities which you really enjoy, whether alone or with the new friends you have made while abroad.
Another way to reduce "culture shock" is to talk out your worries. If you have made some friends, talk with them about what you are thinking and feeling. If you feel more comfortable talking with a professional, seek assistance from your international student services office or the student counseling center at your school. The important thing is to express what you are feeling. If it gets to much for you, you can contact our doctor for some support and understanding.
If You Get Sick
Know in advance what to do if you become ill or injured. You can book an urgent or routine appointment with our doctor while studying in Barcelona. If you are not located in Barcelona, our doctor offers online/phone services including digital prescriptions for anyone in need during their stay in Europe.