Many expat women living and working in a foreign country face unique challenges that include physical well-being, common illness and health care issues. In this article, we will discuss ten health & safety tips to prepare for your new life abroad. At Expat Financial, we are want to share our expat knowledge that includes providing expat health advice before and after relocating abroad.
Know General Medical Standards in Your Destination Country Before You Go
It is recommended to do some research on general medical standards in your destination country before relocating. In most countries, the healthcare system is divided into two categories: public and private medical care. In some countries, the healthcare standard is very high. Government funded hospitals are well equipped and staffed, with excellent services to patients. However, in other countries, hospitals may only provide basic medical treatment and lack of specialist care. In order to better prepare for your life abroad, it is recommended to do some research on general medical standards in your destination country before relocating.
Many expat adults are not up to date with their vaccines. The specific vaccines you need as an expat are determined by many factors such as age, job, relocation plans, health condition, etc. To prevent yourself from getting new and difference diseases, it is critical to visit your doctor and get immunizations before departure. You can even get some great vaccination information from the CDC.
Bring Travel Medications
If you are under certain medical condition and require regular medication, then you should pack at least three months’ supply with you when relocating abroad. Many medical experts suggest that you have access to your medication in your expat destination and that bottles are clearly marked with your prescription. Expat women should also bring birth control pills if required. For long term relocation abroad, expat women should also prepare a good first aid kit with everything you need. Always pack an extra pair of contact lenses or eyeglasses wherever you go.
Try to Avoid the Expat Blues
Whether you are moving abroad for retirement or travel, you may face a series of challenges as an expat woman. The term “trailing spouse” is refer to a person who follows his or her partner overseas because of work arrangement. Due to a recent survey of more than 14,000 overseas expats, the 84% of trailing spouses are female and most of them are highly educated. However, according to the survey, only 24% of them have jobs. Others are staying at home and not working. This mainly because of work visa restrictions or family needs, taking care of children, etc. Even though they are highly educated, they could often not find any adequate job assignments with an appropriate payment range. This can be very difficult when adapting an international move.
When you move abroad and leave behind you career, your life is entering a new stage. Don’t be afraid to loose your sense of self-worth. Rather, take some time and allow yourself to redefine your identity in the new country. Embracing these potential differences will make your life overseas more enjoyable. Your mental health is a crucial part of your overall healthcare while living abroad.
Build a Supportive Network
It is important that trailing spouses and expat women find a way to counteract frustration. Go out and join a social groups, participate in volunteer groups, sports classes or language lessons. For expats who are very busy, you can expand your network online. There are many expat supportive forums and websites which provide a sense of community. This will eliminate doubts, negative thoughts and uncertainty.
Connect Yourself to Local Community
It is not a good idea for expat women to isolate themselves from their new culture. Indeed, it is vital to find ways to get involved in the local community. It is strongly recommended that expats go out and engage locals and other expatriates alike. No matter you are meeting local friends or expat friends, they will help you to overcome communication barriers and culture shock. This kind of interaction will immerse yourself in local living, the earlier you start, the quicker you will eliminate the uncomfortable feeling about an unfamiliar country.
Take Steps to Secure Your Safety and Security While Living Abroad
According to the Government of Canada, expat women are facing greater challenges such as petty and violent crime, the dangers of international cyber-dating, etc. Therefore, it is critical for expat women to plan carefully in order to minimize your risks while living and working abroad.
Before going to your destination country, it is recommended to do a risk assessment that includes safety and security, healthcare, political environment, and culture customs. During your travel, try to avoid displaying expensive-looking jewelry and other devices that may indicate you as a wealthy expat. Beware of strangers, including locals, fellow travelers, use only legal and reputable taxis. Pay attention to fraudulent ads that recruit foreign women for work as models, maids, nannies, etc… Unfortunately, expat women have to pay extra attention to their safety while working and living abroad.
Eating Healthy & Exercise is Critical for Expat Women
When you are moving to a new country, it is critical to maintain healthy eating habits. Expatriates living and working abroad should avoid fast food or street food stands. Always go to local grocery stores or markets to find some fresh fruits and vegetables, but be aware that local sanitary conditions can vary in third world countries. It always makes sense for expatriates work out often, though it can be more difficult while living overseas. Jogging around a park, exercising yoga, hiking, running and golf are all popular options. If you prefer treadmill and gyms, or in some circumstances when the weather is unfavourable, go to local gym clubs near you.
Don’t Skip Medical Check-ups
Wherever you are traveling to, it is vital to ensure that you make sure you don’t forget to manage your health status and monitor changes. In many countries where local public healthcare facilities may not up to western standards, expatriates will want to use private medical care. However, these private facilities are usually very expensive, especially in emergency situations. A global medical plan can not only cover large medical expenses, but it can also cover you for preventative health and medical tests that can help you maintain you and your family’s health. This can even include vaccinations and health monitoring.
An international health insurance plan will provide expatriates and their families worldwide coverage (except in the USA unless you add it as optional benefit). Such plans can allows you to seek medical care internationally and is critical for expatriates residing in less developed countries where medical care facilities are below standard. Expat women living and working abroad will benefit from an international insurance plan that will cover medical check-ups. with day-patient care and full hospital coverage, extensive cancer coverage, dental and vision care, international medical evacuation and repatriation.
Obtain International Health Insurance
The peace of mind of knowing that you and your family access to the best healthcare is very important for expatriates of any gender, including expatriate women. A tailored expatriate health insurance that meets your unique requirements is important and you should also consider life and disability coverage, especially for expat women.