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Lantern and dates for RamadanLantern and dates for Ramadan

Ramadan survival guide for international students

The holy month of Ramadan is once again upon us. Ramadan is a time when Muslims from around the world come together and fast from sunrise to sunset. For international students studying abroad, it can be particularly challenging being away from home during this sacred month.

If you are studying abroad and spending Ramadan by yourself, you can still have a special time. Here is our Ramadan survival guide with some tips on how you can observe this blessed month while living abroad.

1. Attend “Suhoor” and “Iftar” gatherings

There are plenty of mosques and Muslim organisations in the UK and USA that hold “Suhoor” (pre-dawn meal) and “Iftar” (fast-breaking evening meal) gatherings. You can do some research to find out who organises these gatherings and where they take place in your local area.

Your college or university may also provide meals and other forms of support during this time so keep an eye on their social media or speak to the Student Support team. You can also join the Islamic Society at university — it’s a good chance to meet new people and become part of a community.

2. Drink plenty of water

It is essential to stay hydrated between “Iftar” and “Suhoor” because when you fast, the body loses water throughout the day, and this can result in headaches, pains and fatigue.

Keep a bottle of water close by during the evening and try to drink a glass at least every hour. Swap any fizzy drinks with water — you’ll feel so much more energised and refreshed!

3. Be mindful of what you eat

It can be tempting to crave unhealthy food when you’re fasting but be mindful of the food you consume as some food can cause bloating, sleepiness and have other harmful effects on the body!

When breaking your fast, consider eating a few dates to give you an energy burst and for “Suhoor”, consume foods that are high in protein, starch and fibre as they keep you full and energised for longer. Make sure you also eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, such as bananas, potatoes and beans, and avoid foods that are fried, and have high levels of sugar and salt.

“When breaking your fast, consider eating a few dates to give you an energy burst”

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4. Limit physical activity

While physical activity is good for you, during fasting it can take up a lot of your energy and you can feel weaker. Cut down on physical activity or opt to exercise once you’ve broken your fast.

When you do exercise, your workout should be about 50% less intense compared to exercising outside of Ramadan. Reduce the number of reps, lower the weight of equipment, increase rest time and choose the easiest option available. Here are more tips for exercising in Ramadan.

5. Stick to a sleep schedule

Having a sleep schedule during Ramadan can be quite challenging because of the change of routine and timings. However, it’s important to stick to a sleep schedule that does not harm your physical or mental health.

This can be done by getting at least four hours of sleep between “Iftar” and “Suhoor”, as well as after “Suhoor”. It’s better sleeping for four hours than not sleeping at all, as this can affect your health and studies.

6. Fast together

The final tip in our Ramadan survival guide is to stick together! Find someone in your college or university who is also fasting and organise your own “Suhoor” and “Iftar” gatherings.

You can get creative by setting up a three-course meal and cook your favourite food! If you’re stuck, call a family member or friend for ideas or look at recipes online — the choices are endless! Check out these student recipes for inspiration.
Ramadan is a beautiful month filled with love, blessings and reward and we hope you find this Ramadan survival guide helpful. And from everyone here at Kaplan, we wish you Ramadan Kareem!

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