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Study Abroad Blog

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How To: Stay Healthy While Studying Abroad

Settling into a new country is no easy feat. That much can be acknowledged right off the bat. You've come to learn, to travel, and to see everything your country has to offer. Here are three tips to ensure you’re mentally and physically prepped to enjoy every second of your time studying abroad:
 Catedral de la Mudena, the beautiful cathedral in
Madrid facing the Royal Palace.

Stay Balanced

In those initial days (or weeks) after your arrival, you’ll be full of nervous energy. You’ll likely want to immerse yourself in the culture and experience everything you possibly can “like the locals.” This is an amazing time, so go with it! But at the same time, remember to take care of yourself. In all the excitement, it’s easy to forget about the importance of a healthy lifestyle, but a well-rounded diet, hydration, and exercise all act to reduce stress, increase your energy, and boost your mood! This doesn't have to mean spending hours in the gym. Add in a walking tour when visiting a new city, sample the fruits and veggies in the local cuisine, and remember to drink lots of water.

 The view from the top of La Giralda, after
climbing 35 ramps and 17 steps,
is well worth the climb.
 The view from the base of La Giralda, the
historic bell tower in Sevilla, Spain.

Spend time with your friends (and chat with your family!)

You’re far from your friends and family back home, so you’re sure to have moments where the newness and unfamiliarity just seems burdensome. While this is an exhausting, heavy feeling, luckily it’s not impossible to overcome. Spending time with new friends, either locals or others from your program, can quickly make you feel more connected in your new city. Make dates to meet up for coffee, grab a meal together, take in a movie (and practice your language skills at the same time!), or plan a day trip with someone new! There are countless ways to get involved in local celebrations, clubs, etc., so don't hesitate to reach out. With familiar faces to greet you and favorite spots to frequent together, an unfamiliar city quickly begins to feel like home.

**Don't forget to stay in touch with your family. With FaceTime and WhatsApp, video chat is a breeze anywhere you have wifi or data. And if your family is able to come visit you and see your new home, even better!

 Cultures combine in the Chinese
New Year celebration in Granada.
 My little sister and I in Granada while my family visited Spain!

Know when to make time for yourself

In the midst of school and your social life, it’s also important to remember to make time for yourself. Ask yourself how you recharge and regroup when you’re in the US. Do you journal? Go for a walk or practice yoga? Read a book? Whatever it is that relaxes you, make time for it in your new home too! It’s impossible to fully enjoy your time abroad if you’re not mentally healthy, so take the time to care for yourself. And remember, your CEA onsite staff are always there to help if you have any questions or need anything from them.

Megan V.L. is the Spring 2018 MOJO Blogger in Granada, Spain. She is currently a Junior studying Political Science & Spanish at University of Tennessee.

Megan Vande Linde is the Fall 2017, Spring 2018 CEA MOJO Blogger in Granada, Spain, and is currently studying at University of Tennessee.
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