What to do if you get sick overseas?

Travelling is a fantastic experience, but sometimes, things dont always go to plan.  Ben shares his experience with getting sick overseas below.


My worst travelling nightmare came true. Well, actually, I wasn’t carted off to hospital due to some incredibly embarrassing injury caused by an equally embarrassing accident, in appropriately embarrassing clothing. What did happen is that I fell ill. It was certainly not enjoyable, nor was it a part of my UK itinerary (I specifically remember not putting ‘get sick’ on my list of things to see and do while overseas).


I had a fever, headaches (as well as a migraine which may have been coincidental), queasiness/loss of appetite (a rarity for me) and a propensity to sleep. Initially, I thought I had a cold, and promptly treated myself with a course of cold and flu tablets, then round the clock paracetamol for the persistent fever. I was sick for over two weeks before I admitted that I was unable to recover on my own, and bit the bullet to see a doctor.
It was difficult to find any information about how much it would cost me until I actually went to make an appointment, which was a part of my reluctance to do so initially. Eventually, I got to see a doctor, explained my symptoms, the unusual persistence of the illness, and so on. Antibiotics were agreed to be the best probable solution, and I was sent on my way.


After a week, the fever was gone, but it was another week before sleep normality was restored. So, after about a month, and almost £100, I’d managed to kick the apparent infection. I had to spend a fair bit of time making up for all the hours I’d lost to sleep and fever. Luckily I was ahead with my work before I got sick, I merely lost the lead on my studies. I’d also lost a lot of time that I might have spent on sightseeing and the like, I’ll just have to fit those things into the return trip I’ve resolved to take.


On reflection, the only thing I could have done differently was to see a doctor sooner. I might have managed to reclaim a week or more had I sought help earlier. Health and well being are aspects of studying abroad just as important as everything else.


As an ACU exchange student, you are eligible to receive the ACU Travel Insurance, which covers you for basic medical expenses.  ACU also offers all exchange students International SOS, a travel emergency service.  Both these services are free to ACU students taking part in our programs.  Full information on both the ACU Insurance and International SOS will be provided to you at the compulsory ACU Pre-departure session.