Accidents happen. They can also happen anywhere. You can suffer personal injuriesin your bathtub while working on a job site or even walking into a convenience store. Says a mall injury attorney, it’s not uncommon to suffer severe personal injuries inside a shopping mall, a big box hardware store, or a garden variety strip mall.
That said, it’s no surprise the amount of dangers you might face while living or studying abroad in an environment and geography that is entirely foreign to you. But these personal injuries and sicknesses can be avoided if you keep your eyes and ears open and if you use a little common sense (for instance, a good rule of thumb is not to eat it unless it’s “boiled, baked, or bagged”).
According to a recent report by Go Overseas, even though it’s not likely you’ll undergo a catastrophic event, disaster, or major illness when studying abroad, it’s important that you understand how to handle these situations should they arise.
You don’t need to focus all your attention on the bad things that can happen (you don’t get on a plane and consume yourself with worry over an inflight emergency, for instance. You enjoy the ride, turbulence, and all). But it doesn’t hurt to be prepared ahead of time.
Before You Leave
You’ll need to pack more than your bags prior to leaving for your study abroad. You’ll need to prepare some other things too.Here arejust a few:
Travel Insurance: You will need travel insurance, or it’s likely you won’t be able to participate in the program. Many programs offer their own insurance, and others require you to get it on your own. It’s also a good idea to have a good understanding of the private and public hospitals in your destination and if they accept your insurance should an emergency arise.
Your personal medical history: It can pay to have a personal conversation about your family’s medical history. If there is a history of heart disease for instance, you will want to have personal documentation on your person written in the native language of the country you’ll be living in should a cardiac event arise. It can save your life. The same goes for allergies too.
Medication: If you are currently on medication, you need to ask your doctor to supply you with enough for the duration of your stay. Also, it’s a good idea to carry a prescription for the medication along with a signatured note from your doctor just in case you run out.
If The Worst Happens
Says Go Overseas, if the worst does happen and sickness or personal injury occurs, you need to pay strict attention to the following steps:
Do not panic: One of the worst parts about being the victim of a personal injury or getting sick, especially from food poisoning, which is relatively common, is the fear and anxiety that can go with it. But do not panic. Food poisoning or a terrible flu can make you feel like you are dying, but take a moment to breathe deeply, and keep in mind that you are not the first person to go through the pain and frustration of sudden sickness in a foreign land. People get over it usually just by allowing the sickness to run its course. In the meantime, keep a cool head and rest your body.
If the sickness gets worse: Do you require hospital services?If so, ask yourself this question: Will I require an ambulance? If you feel that you do, it’s possible your travel insurance might not cover the cost of the mobile medical service. Therefore, you will be handed a hefty bill. Maybe a taxi will suffice. Again, no matter how lousy you feel, getting better is more than likely a case of getting some much-needed bed rest and letting nature run its course. Of course, if you get hit by a car, you will need to be rushed to the hospital.
Contact one of your friends: If you need to access hospital or dental services, try and find a friend who speaks the languageand will accompany you. If you choose to see a doctor, it’s okay to allow the friend to remain in the examination room while the doctor does his or her job. You can do this alone, but if there is a language barrier, the situation might become frustrating for both you and the medical care provider.
Contact your family: If you’ve been really sick and haven’t made contact with your family, who are anxiously waiting to hear from you from thousands of miles away, it will be time to call them once you’ve seen a doctor. They will be comforted knowing you are being proactive about your sickness or personal injury. In the case of the latter, they might even suggest you see a personal injury attorney regarding your rights as a victim.
Living or studying abroad can be one of the most exciting experiences a person can have. Chances are a personal injury or a bad sickness won’t happen to you. But then, if something bad does happen, it pays to be prepared. More than anything else, it also pays not to panic.