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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

What if I have special medical needs?

What if I need special medicines?

This really depends on your specific situation.  It would be very important to ask on discussion boards about these issues and be as specific as you can.  (see the jobs and resources page)

Use an alternative ID on the boards if you don't want to reveal your personal information (always a good idea on public discussion boards anyway).  You may be quite surprised by the responses you get.  Not all of us out here are problem free!  Many of us have nagging health problems or issues that can not just be ignored because we live overseas.

International Medicine

More and more - you will find "international hospitals" in capital cities and other locations that specifically cater to special needs and to expatriates.  The care is often excellent and only a fraction of the cost of care at home.  Do a Google search for "international hospitals" in the country where you are thinking of going.  Usually, they are quite good at responding to e-mail - send them a note and ask if they have a specialist to deal with your health issue. 

Due to the high cost of medical care and long waits for certain kinds of care in some Western countries, a whole new "Medical Tourism" industry is starting to cater to foreigners and their needs.  Tap into the resource and see if your needs can be met easily.


You will often be able to find the medicine that you use at home far cheaper overseas.  Sometimes it is generic medicine, sometimes it is a local equivalent under a different name brand, sometimes it is exactly the same thing. Check with your doctor(s) in your home country about what might be okay for you.  Know in advance that they won't tend to trust anything overseas as being "safe".  Again, communicate with the international hospital near where you are interested in going.

Don't count on getting medications mailed to you from your home country.  Above and beyond the customs problem - postal service can be unreliable overseas. 

All that said, the author did - at one time - have one medicine mailed to him in Thailand.  Mailed in small quantities - no problem.  Mailed once in large quantity: BIG PROBLEM!  And, an update, several years later - he finally found the medicine here.  Things change - or sometimes you find someone with great hunting skills to find them for you.

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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