Before you decide to work abroad, there are several important factors to consider: the country where you’d like to live, housing, and transportation, among many others. Expat women, in particular, have unique concerns related to health, well-being, and safety while working abroad. Here are 7 health suggestions to help women prepare for – and manage – their new life in a foreign land.
Research your destination, particularly health and safety standards
Where are you headed? Before departing for your new country, try to learn as much as you can about it. Learning about customs, traditions, and holidays, as well as markets and restaurants in the area where you’ll be staying will be helpful information for you in the long run.
You should also find out where hospitals and medical centers are, especially in case of an emergency. Finally, research whether there are healthcare services – such as a national insurance program – available to expats like yourself.
Get international health insurance
Aside from a national healthcare program, having a comprehensive expat health insurance plan is a no-brainer. Fortunately, there’s an array of options that make it simple to put together the right plan. Now Health International, for example, offers multiple levels of long-term coverage for individual employees, as well as their spouses and children at affordable prices.
A comprehensive international health plan can provide access to a country’s leading facilities and medical specialists, as well as services to support your medical needs. Furthermore, there’s the possibility that you could give birth abroad – according to the United States Department of State, nearly 71,000 babies of U.S. citizens were born overseas in 2016 – which makes it crucial to have quality medical services that ensures your health and that of your newborn.
Generally speaking, an expat plan gives you peace of mind. Think about what your medical bills would be if you suffered an unexpected illness or injury – and you didn’t have health insurance.
Get immunized and keep up with annual medical check-ups
If you’re not updated with your vaccinations, now’s a good time to catch up. Immunization may be needed to maintain your general health, prevent allergies, avoid diseases, or meet job requirements for working abroad. Before your departure, consult with your physician about getting the necessary immunizations, as well as to get a clean bill of health for travel.
Once you’re settled, remember to stay up-to-date with your check-ups. Schedule regular screenings for potential issues related to breast cancer, diabetes, your heart, and your thyroid, among others. Preventive screening is also important for your reproductive and sexual health, and is especially critical if you have a pre-existing condition. Be proactive to prevent a serious illness or catch it at an early stage.
For mental well-being, it helps to have a good support network of friends – for those times when you need to vent or just want someone to have coffee with. We suggest immersing yourself in your new city and connect with people who may share similar interests with you. Having such a network of close acquaintances not only offers social rewards but helps build a sense of community.
Maintaining a healthy diet is good advice no matter where you live. However, for women in a foreign country and unfamiliar with local cuisine, eating healthy can be a challenge – particularly if you’re the adventurous type and willing to try anything new. One way to overcome this is to start with dishes that you’re familiar with and are readily available. From there, you can gradually branch out and explore new recipes.
Another is to control your food intake through smaller portions, and making home-cooked meals as opposed to eating out.
Finally, remember to integrate vegetables and fruit into your diet, as well as staying hydrated.
Bring vitamins and medication
This is important if you have prescribed medication to take regularly. Take a supply to last you a few months, in case the prescription you need isn’t readily available and you need time to find a source for replenishing. Other items to consider bringing with you include aspirin, a first aid kit, birth control pills, digestive medicine, and dietary supplements.
Last, but not least, remember to exercise. It’s not just good for the body, but also does wonders for the mind. If a gym isn’t easily accessible where you live, find a park where you can jog, do yoga, and meditate. Try to get into a workout or training routine as soon as you can. If you’re having trouble getting started, this is where it helps to have a friend to act as your exercise buddy and motivate you as needed.
Working abroad is a life-changing event that sets your life in an entirely new – and hopefully rewarding – direction. If you need information on an expat plan for yourself or your family, consider Now Health, one of the industry’s most trusted international health insurance providers.