CHOOSE YOUR LOCATION WITH YOUR HEALTH IN MIND.
In deciding where to study, work, or volunteer abroad, you'll consider intellectual interests, career goals, personal passions, finances, special opportunities-and health considerations specific to you and to that place. You have to be honest with yourself about all these issues, health included.
STEP 1: CONSIDER YOUR HEALTH ISSUES AS YOU MAKE CHOICES
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF
- Do you have allergies that could demand immediate treatment?
- Are you a regular member of a health program—AA or another self-help or therapeutic group, perhaps?
- How much risk are you willing and able to deal with in a given day?
- Do you like being by yourself or in a small town? Or do you prefer a city with lots of activity, noise, and people?
- Will you be comfortable with the daily physical challenges of some locations, like climbing a mountain or crossing a body of water by boat? (For many, the most commonly faced challenge will be lots of walking, far more than in the U.S.)
- If you have a disability, does it have health-related implications that can be affected by access to medical supplies or health facilities, and schedule or climate changes abroad?
- Are you in an on-going counseling program that will continue while abroad? Some countries provide less access to counseling than others.
QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR FAMILY
- How will your family respond to your being abroad for a long period of time? Will they be excited for you? Will they worry about you? Have they traveled? Or will this be scary for them because you are the first in your family or community to go overseas? Will their worry cause YOU stress?
- How can you communicate your enthusiasm and confidence to them to relieve their fear and reduce your stress?
- Once overseas, will you be able to communicate with them as easily and often as you expect to?
- Does anyone in your family have health issues you will be anxious about while overseas? (Insurance is sometimes available to help cover the return fare home in case of a family medical emergency.)