Teach English Abroad: Enjoy Traveling and Seeing the World!
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FAQs for Living and Working Overseas:


Written by a former Peace Corps Volunteer living overseas since 1989

The Expat Guy: FAQs for Working and Living Overseas

Is Expatriate Life Overseas Healthy?

Can you drink the water?

Generally speaking, yes - and no.  Life is healthy, and no, don't drink the water (sometimes and usually).

What?

Life overseas is no more and no less healthy than life back home.  Though life is often much less stressful and less hectic than your family and friends "back home" experience.

Better Medical Care - some places - sometimes

Many doctors overseas will spend much more time with you.  They aren't pressed by the huge numbers game of Public Health Service programs, HMOs or clinics.  You won't usually find the doctor pushing you out of the exam room - or running out to the next customer (whoops, I meant patient!). 

When younger, the author had some serious health issues that never really got resolved - until meeting a couple of great doctors overseas.  They spent the time with him to talk about the problems, explained and reviewed some options, and left the course of action up to him!  You won't feel that they are eagerly "sharpening their knives" and wondering how much all this could be worth.  Just the author's cynical outlook, maybe? 

Staying Healthy

In some countries, you will find that things aren't always as clean as you would like them to be - and bathroom cleanliness is not common in many parts of the world, nor is regular hand washing.  So, you will find yourself, wisely, washing you hands MUCH more than you used to - and it is a very good habit for keeping yourself healthy.  Carry a handkerchief with you as many lavatories won't have any towels at all - or often have a community towel for all to use.  Carry a small pack of tissues as many countries don't stock toilet tissue in the facility for you.

The Water?

Generally, not good to drink - depends on the country, of course.  Ask!  Most countries though have cheap and easily accessible bottled water.  The author gets five-gallon (18.9 liter) bottles delivered to my door for less than about US$1 each.  And he buys the EXPENSIVE water.  The cheap water is about US30 cents. Most places you can gargle and brush your teeth with tap water - some places you can't - it is important to ask your coworkers.

Boil it?

Sometimes.  And you will see many people do this.  But often the problem with the water may not be bacteria and other living things in the water, it is often pollutants or heavy metals - things which are not affected by boiling.  Want a recommendation?  Good water is cheap - buy it.  Your health is too valuable. You'll quickly get used to the routine. It is simple and easy.  You won't even notice after a few weeks when you have the habit down.

 Caveat: I'm not a doctor - but I am careful with my health.  I am, after all, on the high side of my 50s.  All the above is just my opinion.  Consult with your personal physician for any thing more serious than the sniffles.

 

 

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