An unexpected start
So semester 1 of 2018 started just last week and I was more than eager to dive into all my new modules and start to have a nice weekly routine after a whole Christmas break of free time, but unfortunately my first week did not go as expected and I feel that this is an important post for year abroadees when something you think will never happen happens!
Mondays are a day without classes for me so I decided to start week 1 off by heading to the gym and doing some reading afterwards. On leaving the gym however, I suddenly started to feel extremely ill and struggled to walk home – luckily all of my friends here are so caring and supportive and walked to meet me while I felt ill. I spent the day in bed in agony, feeling horrendously sick and hoping sleep would cure me, but unfortunately it only got worse and so I decided to try and get a last-minute doctors appointment but they were shut! Times like these are the absolute hardest during your year abroad because you can’t just call your parents for some help or to pick you up from uni so I had absolutely no idea what to do. Then the scary part came! My Residential Advisor (and friend) came to check on me and, on seeing how ill I was, decided to take me to the emergency room: I was terrified without a loving cuddle from my mum!
Off on our way to the emergency room I fell worse and worse and as I tried to check in at the front desk I suddenly felt the worst I had been all day and had to be taken into a private room where – to my horror – I was told I needed a drip and a blood test urgently. I was terrified! 11000 miles away from my parents who were sound asleep in a hospital with needles sticking into me was not how I wanted to spend my year abroad! But luckily I had my friend who stayed with me the entire night and assured my parents I was ok. Thankfully I felt better upon leaving (a fair few hours later) but now came the tricky part of being an exchange student on a year abroad: the insurance.
Lets talk about health insurance…
If you’re doing a year abroad you’ll know that one of the big costs before you leave is making sure you have fully comprehensive health insurance to use while you’re there! While it’s easy to book a doctors appointment and get them to bill your insurance directly, hospital trips are a completely different matter. My top tips in case you ever find yourself in a scary position like this is to make sure you have easy access to your OSHC number; mine is screenshotted in my phone so I can offer my membership number whenever it’s needed. Secondly, I know that emergency room trips are clearly meant for when you’re in an emergency (shock), but what they don’t tell you is that you really should take a form of ID with you, whether it be your passport or driving license – it makes the whole process so much easier. And finally, what I didn’t know about some medical treatments is that you have to cover the bill yourself first and then claim it back online! You get the whole bill paid back to you but be aware to have some money for emergencies in case you do ever have to pay a bill.
I know it’s a topic you’d rather not think about if you’re planning an amazing year abroad but it’s definitely information you need to know! I hope this helps!