How to Stay Healthy While Studying Abroad

Picture of Emily Fenske

Move Your Body – and Get Outside!

I think this one is so important. Not only is exercise good for your physical health, it is a great way to clear your mind and burn off stress. It can also be a great way to meet new people. Here at IT Carlow there are a ton of clubs and societies that are open to all students, regardless of experience level. While I have been here, I have joined the hillwalking, Irish dancing, and kayaking societies. This is just a small sample of what is available, there is also archery, hip hop dancing, yoga, equestrian, swimming, Gaelic sports, and so many more. Or, if you prefer to hit the gym alone, the school has a great facility. A personal favorite of mine is to listen to my favorite jams and do cardio interval training when I am feeling stressed. Also, Ireland is a beautiful country, with so much amazing nature on display. So, if you do nothing else, get outside and go for a walk!

A hike in the Blackstairs Mountains with the Hillwalking Club
Visiting the Cliffs of Moher

Eat Good Food

This one has been a particular challenge for me. I am not used to sharing kitchen space with lots of people, so that aspect of living in a shared home has been difficult for me. If you are living with a host family, I suspect this would be easier. I have not been cooking for myself as much as I do back home, but I have found a few dishes that I can make easily. One staple meal has been rice with canned vegetables and canned garbanzo beans, smothered in curry sauce (or any other sauce you like). The ready-to-eat smoked salmon in the refrigerated section is great, it is tasty on some hearty bread with cream cheese and cucumber slices (this is me sneaking vegetables into my meal!). I also try to keep apples and bananas on hand to grab for breakfast or snacks. One benefit, though, to living in a shared home is being able to all pitch in for shared meals. Most of the time my roommates and I are on different schedules, but when we are able to come together, we have cooked some pretty tasty meals for cheap. Also, the meal options on campus are reasonably inexpensive and quite varied, with plenty of healthier options if you choose. This is often where I eat most of my meals during the week.

Utilize Your Resources

There are so many resources available for students on campus, and most of them for free. Just to name a few, they include a medical office with a full-time nurse and a doctor available by appointment, counselors, a chaplain, and the Student Union. This is in addition, of course, to all of the staff in the International office, course instructors, and the wonderful folks at Learn International. If there is anything you ever have a question about, feel like you need more support for, or just want to talk to someone, all you have to do is ask. And if you’re not sure what kind of help you need, ask whoever you feel most comfortable with and they will point you in the right direction. One thing I have noticed while living here in Ireland is that people are very willing to help out and offer advice whenever they can.

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