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Stay well while studying abroad

Stay well while studying abroad
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20 Aug 2018

Are you ready for studying abroad?

An academic year or a term studying at a foreign university is, for many people, their first experience of living outside Canada for an extended period. As with any major lifestyle change you will have to make some adjustments to ensure you stay safe and healthy.

Canadian Travel Clinics can help you navigate these changes. Six to eight weeks before your departure, make an appointment with us. The nurses at Canadian Travel Clinics specialize in travel health and can help you to work out how to minimize your risk of ill health while you study abroad.

What shots do I need for studying abroad?

Depending on the location of your university or college you may need to get some vaccinations against illnesses such as hepatitis A, Japanese encephalitis or meningococcal meningitis. Some of these vaccines need to be given in more than one dose, so you should get your appointments booked in well before you leave for your studies abroad. Certain shots are recommended for extended stays, including hepatitis B. And if your course includes fieldwork or work with animals, tell the adviser, as this will increase your chances of exposure to some diseases, including rabies. Your organisation may also supply specific health information, which you should disclose at your appointment.

Are you staying in student accommodation or with a local family? Let your travel health adviser know as this will have an impact on the vaccinations they recommend. In dorms or halls of residence accommodation you may be at increased risk of exposure to meningitis. Take a look at our article on homestay to find out some of the considerations you need to think about when you stay with a family.

Don’t forget to tell your travel health nurse if you plan to take a side-trip while you are away – it may be difficult to get good travel health advice where you are studying, and you can save time and worry by getting the necessary shots done in Calgary.

How is your mental health?

Studying abroad is stressful: you will be living within an unfamiliar culture and possibly attending lectures in a foreign language. You may experience unexpected home sickness, too. You may never have experienced mental health problems at home, but you should still have a plan in case you do. Think in advance about your support network (the Government of Canada, and what steps you can take if you experience anxiety or depression while studying abroad.

Avoid insect-borne diseases

Some really serious illnesses are carried by insects, including Dengue fever, malaria, tick-borne encephalitis and Chikungunya. Not all of these are vaccine preventable. You should remember, too, that unfortunately shots and chemoprophylaxis are not completely effective, so you need to avoid insect bites. Also, blotchy, itchy insect bite welts will distract you from your studies.

Practise safer sex

You may find that being abroad lowers your inhibitions so that you indulge in risky sexual behaviours that you would normally avoid at home. Your travel health appointment is completely confidential so you can ask your travel health nurse at our Downtown Calgary clinic about anything at all. This includes safer sex, which will help you avoid exposure to sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

I’m looking for a travel clinic in Calgary

Look no further than Canadian Travel Clinics if you need travel vaccinations in Calgary. We can offer evening and early morning appointments for your convenience. Book online now.