If you're heading to Asia to teach English anytime soon, one thing that might take you by surprise is the heat. Everyone knows that Asia is hot and humid, but until you step off the plane and walk into a wall of hot air, you don't really know what it's like.
At this time of year, a lot of jobs that are advertised will be for July/August arrival times, and this is the hottest and most humid time of the year.
It's not a bad time to arrive at all, so don't let it put you off. Just be aware that there will be a lot of sweating involved when you first arrive.
Don't Get All Hot And Bothered
Aside from the discomfort, there can be wider ramifications of not coping with the heat. Things like homesickness or culture shock can be brought on sooner if you're struggling to cope with the heat.
It's just one of those things that can add to discomfort and a feeling of being overwhelmed.
Those of you who come from somewhere like Florida or Spain might not feel that bothered about the weather in Asia, but if you're from further north, it can be a problem.
You may never have realized before how much hot weather can effect daily life. A lot of people will only have experienced heat like this when they're on holiday. In situations like this, the weather is great! However, when you're arriving at work dripping sweat, trying to calm down an excited class, or feeling generally low on energy, it isn't pleasant.
On the plus side, it's actually pretty easy to control and get used to, so in today's post we're going to look at just that.
How Hot Are We Talking?
Depending on which country you're in, which city in that country, and what time of year, temperatures can range from comfortable, to hot and sticky.
Countries like Taiwan can have a very humid summer, so even though it might not exceed 35 degrees, the humidity levels (80% and up) can make it feel a lot hotter. Imagine living in a pressure cooker, and that's some parts of Asia in the summer.
The following are some tips for how to cope.
Coping With The Temperature
Invest In A Dehumidifier
Having a dehumidifier in your apartment is a good way of stopping mold build up. If you don't have one, you might be surprised to find clothes that you haven't worn recently become mouldy. Keeping things clean and fresh in your apartment is a nice way of escaping the humidity as well.
You'll be very likely to have air conditioning in your apartment (if you don't, find somewhere that does), which is a good step for keeping cool, but it doesn't do a lot for humidity.
Carry A Bottle Of Water
This is pretty self explanatory. A bottle of water will keep you hydrated. A lot of Asian countries have convenience stores everywhere, and water is usually very cheap, so don't be afraid to pop in and buy one, your mouth will thank you for it!
Keeping hydrated is also a good way of keeping energy levels high, as well as avoiding fever and heatstroke.
Cool Down In A Nearby Store
While you're in that convenience store buying some water, why not stay a while and take advantage of the air con? These shops are usually very cool and many of them have some tables and chairs. Sit down, have a drink, cool down, then head off again.
Wear Light Clothes
Light, breathable fabrics are perfect for this kind of weather. If you try and put on a thick t-shirt in the summer, you'll soon realize why it's a bad idea, as you'll probably be sweating before you've left the house.
A lighter t-shirt on the other hand, makes a huge difference and will help keep you cool. If you are comfortable wearing sleeveless tops or vests, this is advantageous too.
You might think this is counter-productive, but doing exercise in the local park or riverside is a good way of getting your body used to the temperature. It will be hard going at first, but you'll soon get used to it, and once you know how to run in the heat, walking will feel a lot more bearable.
Of course, you'll also become more fit and healthy, which will contribute to better energy levels and good feelings.
When you're not exercising, slow down! Westerners always notice how slow everyone seems to walk in Asian countries, and there's a reason for it. The slower pace will make you less likely to sweat buckets, and although you might find it hard to get used to, it will be well worth it in the long run.
Just make sure you leave the house earlier.
Indoors or outdoors, swimming is going to cool you down and refresh you. Again, it's never a bad idea to improve your fitness either.
Get To The Coast
Cities can be very humid places, especially if they're surrounded by mountains. If you get a chance, head out to the coast and get some of that sea breeze on your face.
It Just Takes Getting Used To
In conclusion, you're just going to have to get used to the temperature if you do head to a hot Asian country. The plus side is that once you're used to it, you'll find the fact you can wear shorts in November to be amazing.
Many people actually cite the warm weather as one of the reasons they've never left!