There is a big draw for people to leave their home country these days and work abroad. It provides a unique way to see the world and have some new experiences. Exposure to a new language and culture is enriching and opens up possibilities for the future. However, being far from home can pose some health and safety issues.
Traveling is normally very safe, but you can get injured anywhere including on a cruise. When you live abroad in a new system and with new challenges, it is more difficult than you imagine to stay healthy and safe. In this article, we will go over several things to keep in mind for your safety when living abroad.
1 – Get the right healthcare
When you decide to live in a new country, keeping yourself healthy becomes a top priority. It is crucial to begin by researching the local healthcare facilities that are available to you. Look for top-notch hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies that are nearby. See if they have positive reviews and are capable of providing high-quality medical care. It’s also a good idea to know their operating hours and whether they have English-speaking staff, as this can make communication easier in times of need.
Understanding your healthcare options and insurance is another important factor for staying healthy abroad. In some countries, expats are able to use the public healthcare system, but this is not the case everywhere. You might find that investing in a good private health insurance policy is necessary. When choosing a policy, pay attention to what is covered, especially in terms of emergency services and any pre-existing conditions you may have.
If you are abroad in a developing country, consider obtaining international evacuation insurance. This type of insurance is designed to cover the costs of transporting you to your home country in the event of a serious medical emergency. It can provide peace of mind, knowing that you have access to the best possible care, even if it means returning home.
2 – Understand your new environment
Before you move to a new country, take some time to do your homework and learn about the local laws and customs. This helps you know what is legal and what is not. It also helps you fit in better with the locals. Check the political stability of the place as well. A stable political climate makes for a safer living environment. Look at the safety and crime rates of different areas. This information can help you choose a safe place to live.
Language and communication play big roles in your new life as well. Try to learn the basics of the local language. Even a few basic phrases can go a long way. It shows respect for the local culture and can help in everyday situations. Clear communication can help prevent misunderstandings and make your daily life smoother.
Cultural awareness is another key aspect of understanding your new environment. Learn about the local norms and etiquettes. What is polite in your home country might be rude in another. Getting these things right is called cultural competence and it can take time. It helps you build better relationships with locals and makes your expat experience richer.
3 – Build a support network
Creating a network of support is a key part of living in a new country and will contribute to your safety. One of the best ways to do this is by connecting with other expats. Look for expat communities and groups in your area. These groups can be found on social media or through local event listings. Joining these communities allows you to meet people who are in the same situation as you. They can offer advice, share their experiences, and provide a sense of familiarity in an unfamiliar place.
Having local connections can also contribute to your safety. Locals have valuable knowledge about the area and can offer advice on safe neighborhoods, reliable services, and trustworthy people. They can also be a point of contact in case of an emergency, providing support and assistance when needed.
4 – Have an emergency preparedness plan
Being ready for emergencies when living in a new country starts with learning the emergency contacts and procedures of your new home. Know the numbers to call in case of an emergency, like medical issues, fires, or if you need the police. Understand how emergency services work in the area and what steps to follow during different types of emergencies.
Keeping your important documents safe and easy to reach is also very important. This includes your passport, visa, insurance papers, and any other crucial legal documents. Make copies of these documents and keep them separate from the originals. Keep the hard copies on hand and easy to grab in case your time is limited in an emergency.