Tips for staying healthy while overseas
Whether it’s checking for malarial zones, keeping happy, or dodging dodgy eateries, we’ve got a couple of top tips for staying healthy while overseas. It’s good prep reading for any would-be TEFLers about to hit the road…
Try to get some sort of routine going
Many people think that hitting the road while working is only for the spontaneous type. That’s not so. TEFL teaching offers a way to travel and work while also setting up a new base somewhere totally new. Some people won’t move on for years, decades, or ever. The upshot is that it should be relatively easy to get a routine going when you do finally settle into your new place. And with a routine comes discipline: Discipline to go to the gym, attend exercise classes, balance your work and play, and for generally staying healthy while overseas.
Stay in touch with friends
Homesickness is one of the major causes of sadness and depression among expat workers. The good news is that it can usually be overcome by sticking with your chosen destination, establishing a few home comforts there, and just pushing through. One way to prevent getting overcome with it all, and to ensure you can keep focused and enjoying, is to stay in touch with family and friends back at home. They offer a support network that can be invaluable to your mental wellbeing – cheers guys!
Do proper research – and prep accordingly
Researching that next TEFL destination isn’t just about trawling awesome blogs (why a-thank you very much) and looking through reams of hash-tagged images on Instagram. You should also factor in the logistics of living somewhere in terms of health.
Take malaria. That could potentially affect teachers heading to parts of India, Indonesia, Cambodia, sub-Saharan Africa, South America – the list goes on. You might need to take regular meds to fend off the biters in those places, not to mention get injections for a whole host of other tropical nasties.
Then there’s the more practical side of travel prep and research. That ranges from climactic conditions to cultural considerations. You wouldn’t want to forget a coat if you’re heading to teach in the Nepalese Himalayas now, would you? And you might need to think a little before you take the plunge and move to live in the nuanced communities of the Middle East. It’s things like that on which your physical and mental health abroad will depend.
Pack a first aid kit
Obvious, we know. But nonetheless important. A first aid kit could be the difference between a bad injury and a really bad injury, especially if you find yourself in an emergency far away from a major hospital or health center – quite plausible if, say, you’re teaching on the Indonesian islands or in a rural Bolivian town stead. Hopefully you’ll never need to use the pack, but it’s just good to know it’s there if you happen to. Don’t you think?
Don’t overwork yourself
TEFL teaching in countries all around the globe has obvious rewards: A beach on the doorstep, perhaps; a mountain range in view of your room, maybe; walking access to the buzzing markets of Bangkok, perchance. But there’s no way you’ll be able to enjoy all those pluses unless you set aside time to do just that. It’s the same in all professional walks of life: Overwork yourself and you risk losing sight of things that drove you to do that something in the first place. Balancing work and play is crucial for healthy expat living. So, take some moments away from the classroom. Laze on those beaches. Climb those peaks. Wonder at those temples. You earned it!
We know that bubbling pot of Rajasthani curry can be a temping prospect the first time you stroll the streets of Jaipur’s pink bazaars. We know just how tasty those sizzling pork skewers can look on the roadside grills of Vietnam. Just beware of the dreaded Delhi belly; the infamous Montezuma’s revenge. To dodge nasty outcomes of the e-coli variety, it’s usually a good idea to check if locals are eating in a particular spot. You can also read reviews ahead of time these days – thanks TripAdvisor! And you can pack some anti-sickness meds, just in case things do start to get rumbly.
These are just some tips for staying healthy while overseas. We’d love to hear your additions in the comments below if you’ve got anything to add! Alternatively, if you think it’s time you got TEFL qualified, out there, and exploring (in a healthy way, of course), be sure to check our offering of courses…