This summer, I studied abroad in Paris, and before I left, I did a lot of research on ways to stay healthy and active while studying abroad. Once in Europe, however, I realized that many of the motivational tips were unattainable. For many of us, studying abroad is a rare opportunity, and you need to embrace the culture and the experience. Do not waste your time worrying about your routine back home because you will end up a lot happier living in the moment and enjoying the opportunities you are given.
Instead of giving tips on how to stay well abroad, here are a few healthy highlights to remember while studying abroad in Europe:
You will walk everywhere.
Your driver’s license isn’t accepted abroad, so you’ll be walking A LOT. I was actually sore because I was walking so much. As long as you are in a safe area, walking is not only a great exercise for your calves and glutes, but it’s also the best way to sight see and explore a new city. You’ll never choose a taxi when you can walk by ten historical landmarks on your way to the store! The only advice I can give you here is to find a safe walking companion, buy good walking shoes, and stretch whenever you get home.
You’ll eat when you’re hungry, not when you’re bored.
When we are at home or on campus, we have a lot more time to eat and a lot more options. Many of us also tend to eat when we’re bored. While studying abroad, you will have a lot less down time, so you will be snacking less and savoring your meals more.
Generally speaking, international food is more natural.
There are a couple of reasons for this:
- The European Union governs food laws more strictly then in the US. Most manufactured food is made without pesticides or preservatives, and when abroad, your food will expire quickly and you cannot take out food from restaurants. Who knew that all food wasn’t supposed to last for five months at a time? J
- The second reason is that corn is more expensive overseas than it is in the US, and most additives and processed foods contain high fructose corn syrup and other corn by-products. Foods are instead made with natural sugar, which is not only better for your body, but it tastes a lot better too!
In conclusion, appreciate the great foods you’ll be savoring, the great calves you’ll get from all of the walking, and the beauty of the country you’ll be visiting!