Expats beware! Don’t neglect your health when you move abroad

Mark Twain said, “The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like and do what you’d rather not.” How true indeed. Staying healthy is a difficult task.

Most expatriates like to travel, see places, taste delicacies, discover new cultures, take new jobs and meet new people. In this race of chasing adventure and making life more colorful, we often forget that our health needs to be taken care of too.

If we don’t then we will have to spend all that time regaining our health.Yes and that’s the harsh reality of life, you just never know when that little ache in your stomach you ignored might knock you down.  For those of you who like to look and feel pretty in skinny jeans and tight shirts, you might want to reduce the size of the pizza that you have been ordering in Italy. Think twice before digging into the expensive cheese you have been eating in France, or adding whipped cream to your waffles in Belgium and well…the drink beer save water slogan? Check with your mirror next time.

When I moved from India to France for my studies, I was mesmerized, eager, inquisitive and fearless. My youthful spirit was alive and kicking. I was so taken in by the new country and people, that looking after my health became a second priority. Who has the time for a proper dinner, when you can go to the Eiffel tower at night and enjoy the light show with a glass of chardonnay? Gathering at a friend’s house at 7pm for an apéritif and hitting the club by midnight seemed more fun. I also believed skipping breakfast the next morning would help lose all that weight you gained the previous night by drinking like there’s no tomorrow.

It was not long after that I started having regular stomach problems and a slight fever, my appetite kissed me goodbye and “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” didn’t work for me anymore. Yes, I realised that I might have ignored the fact that my body needed nourishment.

As a result, the OFII stamp on my visa (which allows you to travel across Europe) got rejected. The immigration authority told me to get well and bring a doctor’s report saying I am fit and fine to be in the country in order to get the stamp. Thanks to my medical insurance, my treatment went well and the medicine charges were covered. I recovered in few days and my stamp was issued.

Therefore, when you’re heading to a new country, it never hurts to make sure that you’re going to come back as healthy as you were when you left. By simply keeping few things in mind you will be able to enjoy your stay and be up and active for every minute, you will be in shape and healthy and besides all that – you can enjoy your new home with peace of mind.

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