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Doodle Nandi

Doodle Nandi is a content editor for Hotcourses India- an IDP company, and helps write articles that help students with their study abroad journey.


30 May 2018 482 Book icon 4 mins Share

So what I am a vegetarian – I too can survive my study abroad!

Till now you've been a vegan or a vegetarian and now you're at a crossroad. Do you need to break your tradition or lifestyle and start gorging on non-veg food while you study in a different country?

30 May 2018 482 Book icon 4 mins Share
Doodle Nandi

Doodle Nandi is a content editor for Hotcourses India- an IDP company, and helps write articles that help students with their study abroad journey.


Share this article
Surviving education abroad as a vegetarian

With so many things to balance during your higher education in a foreign country – classes, projects, extra-curriculars and internships – there is one thing that cannot be ignored, i.e., food. When you pack your bags and say goodbye to your family, a voice inside keeps asking you ‘what are you gonna eat’ and how will you manage on your own.

It sounds more difficult when you feed only on plant products. Vegetarians are everywhere, and they are of different categories – egg-eating vegetarians or egg-tarians and vegetarians who abstain from garlic and onion. And then we have vegans who abstain from all types of animal products.

So what if you are a vegetarian and want to experience studying overseas? You too can survive in a different country without switching over to non-vegetarian food. Though it might be little difficult during the initial days, since you have to be on your toes, with time you’ll find yourself adjusting to the circumstances.

Food industry has expanded over the last couple of years, and now almost in every country you’ll find an Indian food outlet or a restaurant serving the appetite of the Indian community present in those countries.

You’ll be surprised to know that there are so many Indian restaurants in Melbourne and Sydney. In addition, there are over 14 vegan restaurants in Sydney that offer a varied number of cuisines. This is largely due to the vast number of Indians who choose to migrate to the country for work or education.  

Tips to deal with the vegetarian part of yourself when you are studying abroad:

1. Read and prepare yourself 

When you decide on a country to study in, you must read a bit about the life outside your university campus. There could be many veg restaurants in the country that you need to hunt for. You just need to keep yourself updated and well-informed. 

2. Track them down

Next thing that you must do is to track down those veg restaurants and try them on every alternate days, if possible, to figure out which is your type of food outlet.

3. Invest well

If you have less confidence in the ‘vegetarian’ food that’s available in the market, then purchase a blender, mixer, sandwich maker and all types of equipment that would make your life less miserable.

4. Cook

Cooking will save a lot of money. Also, when you cook, you know what goes inside your stomach. Instead of relying too much on preserved food, try cooking in your style using your chosen ingredients. You’ll slowly figure out how easy and convenient it is, besides being a stress reliever.

5. White-lie

There are people who may ask you: ‘Why don’t you eat non-veg?’ Worse still they may ask: ‘How can you live as a vegan?’ Sometimes you might feel exasperated with too many questions. If you face such rare cases, consider saying a white lie, such as it’s against your principles or you have severe allergies towards certain food.

6. Go on a fruit diet

If nothing works for you, considering living on a diet rich in fruits. Having fruits is of great benefit since it helps you avoid binge eating on junks.

7. Eat healthy

Staying healthy is more important than eating everything. Make sure you know which fruit and vegetables will give you more minerals and less of carbohydrates. Make your own checklist of what to eat every week and follow it.

8. Get a book

Cookery books are aplenty in the market as much as books on staying healthy as a vegetarian. Get some books that teach you simple ways of cooking and try your hands in this new form of activity.  

9. Go Indian!

We have the world’s largest number of spices that we use in our everyday cooking. Why not carry your own spice bag with you or purchase one in the country where you have been studying?

We know it’s painful to wake up in the morning, away from your home, and start craving for spicy masala dosas, but if, luckily, you know the recipe it’s worth trying making your own dosas.

10. Beware of hidden tags

There have been countless incidents where vegetarian items like simple french fries were found to carry animal-based flavouring or cooked in pig fat. Ensure that you are aware of such incidents happening near you.

Also, when you are on a complete vegan diet, you need to look out for minute things, such as yogurt containing gelatin and been products containing lard or ham and cheese products containing casein (enzyme derived from animals).

Bottom line

Different countries have their own specialities in terms of local cuisines. For example, in Germany potato pancakes called ‘Rosti’ (which is originally a Swiss dish) are good options for vegetarians.  The country is also famous for its cheese and bread, which are easy choices available for vegetarians.

If you are going to Germany, don’t forget to attend the Oktoberfest that has some authentic vegetarian dishes available too.

And if you are willing to go to Canada, then there is absolutely no need to worry since in Canada it was recorded (2015) that 12% of young Canadians preferred a vegetarian diet compared with only 5% of Canadians aged 50 and older.

You can check some amazing stats here – vegetarian diets in Canada.

Cities like London have become a major hot spot for international students. In fact, as per the latest study by, London has grabbed the top place as the most popular student city globally. Having said that, the city has several means available for vegetarian people, with a bit of balance between traditional and modern-day cuisines.

So you see it’s not too difficult to survive on veggies and fruits while you study abroad. Being too fussy or having an element of suspicion about everything you eat may not help you.

Have you finalised yet where you want to study? If you’re struggling with too many options, we can help you find one university or course that matches your budget and qualification. Speak to our education counsellors and ask them any questions that you may have.

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