Address ‘food security’ before it turns to instability
It might seem to be a non-issue, but most students we have counselled to their favourite overseas education countries have shared with us the ‘culture shock’ about food and meals in their respective country.
Why so, you may ask.
For one, we Indians have an extensive taste palate. From childhood we are used to a certain flavour and variety in food. Most of us are also used to at least three meals in a day. In France, for example, the concept of breakfast is almost non-existent. At best, the choice is limited to a croissant or a pie. How much of confectioneries can one have, and for how long?
Access to Indian food is another concern faced by most Indian students studying abroad. While there could be a number of Indian restaurants in the vicinity, it may not be possible always and every day to eat outside due to college timings and high cost of eating out.
Interestingly, we Indians, more often than not, prefer to have our meals with company. Family, friends, colleagues. That’s how we are raised. Your roommates may not always be able to join you for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Eating alone for longer periods could make you want to skip meals leading to health issues, lack in focus and onset of mood swings. We do not want that.
So, what do we do? Plan, plan and plan.
First and foremost, spend some time with your mom in the kitchen – before you fly to your college / university. Learn the basic nutritious recipes that’d take least preparation time. Poha, upma, sabudana khichdi, rice varieties, dal, sabzi, etc. You’d not only stay healthy but also keep homesickness at bay.
Secondly, figure out all about grocery stores in and around the place of your accommodation. You can take advice from the home owner, or even scout for these stores on social media. List down the ingredients available and how much they would cost. If you are sharing space with others, confirm with your roommates about taking turns in preparing meals.
Lastly, enquire with your college / university if they provide meals. At least your breakfast and lunch could be taken well care of.
Not having proper and regular meals will prove to be counterproductive. And you do not want to be falling sick just because of your indifference. Remember, an empty stomach makes the mind barren.