As a sophomore in college, you’ve finally figured it out. You have a comfortable routine, you eat well, you exercise regularly, and you’ve settled into a lifestyle that you can manage. Junior year, however, presents you with an incredible opportunity that will completely alter that routine: to study abroad.
If you are as fortunate as I am, you’ll be able to take full advantage of this opportunity. While it is extremely exciting, it can also be a bit daunting. I’ll be one to admit, I had many moments when I became nervous that I’d have to put a halt to my health and fitness for four months. I felt apprehensive about the fact that the routine I’ve grown into would no longer exist. After spending a month abroad, I’ve slowly adapted to a new routine and realized that living halfway across the world does not mean you need to sacrifice your health. Finding the right balance between maintaining your health and experiencing everything abroad has to offer is tricky, but it is more than possible.
To find that balance, you first have to realize a few things:
You may have to abandon your usual means of exercise.
The paths you run at home won’t be there and the gym may be too expensive for your budget, but this does not mean you need to give up exercising all together; you may just need to pick up a new form. Walking, biking, and running are all great forms of exercise that enable you to explore the city you’re in. Utilizing YouTube for at home exercises is also a great way to get moving. Fitnessblender is a personal favorite YouTube channel of mine that has hundreds of videos of at home workouts ranging from HIIT to stretching and pilates. Other well-known YouTube channels include blogilates, BeFit, and HiitLite. Additionally, try joining a club or team at school. Abroad is all about new experiences, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and join something new.
Food is not everything.
More than likely, the country you’ll be studying in will be one renowned for its fine cuisine. With pastry shops and upscale restaurants on every corner, you may feel the need to eat your way through your four months. However, that certainly won’t be smart for your body or your wallet. Take it slow. Make sure you get out there and try new things, but cook your own meals when you can. I promise, over four months you’ll have PLENTY of chances to eat the local cuisine.
While your health and fitness may be of the utmost importance to you, remember that studying abroad is a once in a lifetime chance. Don’t let the fear of change keep you from taking full advantage of all the opportunities that lie at your fingertips. Try your best to accept and embrace the challenges that come, because stepping outside of your comfort zone will only foster growth within yourself. The real key to finding balance is realizing that things will change, and being able to accept it and work with it.
Remember: abroad is for four months, fitness is for a lifetime. The gym and your norms will always be there when you get home.