Plan Ahead – Being Sick Abroad – by Natalia

Blog Post 1:

Plan Ahead! – Being Sick Abroad

While I was preparing to study abroad, I was excited about living on my own, meeting other students, and traveling. I was glad that I had health insurance and travel insurance, but I did not think too much about what would happen if something actually went wrong. Then I got sick during my third week in London. I was in the midst of finalizing my classes and adjusting to living on my own for the first time. It was a lot to handle for someone who rarely gets sick.

After waking up with a fever and a desperate FaceTime call to my mother, she urged me to visit the campus doctor. I arrived at the Student Health Center to see other students waiting for their ten minutes with the GP. Unfortunately, I was turned away from the nurse because I had not registered in the system yet. The GP wouldn’t see me AND the registration wouldn’t clear for another 5-7 days.  The receptionist recommended I visit the pharmacy near Mile End station. I left angry, tired and coughing.

The pharmacist near Mile End station was incredibly helpful and understanding of my situation. He recommended over the counter products that would help and gave great advice. He even explained that the NyQuil I brought would suffice. I also had refills of other medications from my doctor that helped.

A week later I was feeling better and my registration had cleared. I had an appointment to check in the GP to be certain that I was okay. While I missed one class and spent the time catching up on Netflix in bed, I learned how to take care of myself.

Here is your game plan for being sick while abroad:

  1. Register at the Student Health Center as soon as you arrive! Even if you think you won’t get sick!
  2. Include money for medicine in your budget
  3. Visit your doctor to get some basic meds to take with you in case of emergency: allergy medication, contacts, contact solution, emergency contraception, and a list of prescriptions from your doctor with their real scientific names so the pharmacists will know what they are (since they sometimes have different branding and labels).

Natalia studied abroad in Spring 2016 and is from Hunter College, NYC.

Read more of Natalia’s blog posts.

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