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Even though most accidents happen at home, it is important to be aware of the health and security situation when you are abroad. When you are far away from home it is more challenging to separate a safe situation from an unsafe. Can I walk safely in this neighbourhood at night? Is it OK to take a “moto taxi” and should I drink this water? Normally, you come far with a sound combination of listening to locals and following common sense, but no one can guarantee your safety in any situation. Your host organization will help you with an emergency plan, but remember to be extra aware when you are abroad - at the end of the day you are responsible for your own safety.
be prepared …
Before travelling we encourage you to search for information about your destination. Maybe you can talk to someone who has been at your destination before? Check also official advice. The UK , the US and the Norwegian government (in Norwegian) offer updated security information about countries around the world. These sites contain a lot of relevant information. Remember anyway that this travel advice is general, and not tailored for your specific situation. Some advice might be more relevant than other.
Check also what kind of vaccination you will need for your travels, and what other health related precautions you should take. If you are in doubt about where to find this information, ask your partner. Your host partner is responsible for your emergency plan, and this will include your nearest medical doctors etc. If you are particularly interested in the health situation of your destination, check the country profile at the WHO- homepage.
… and have a plan.
This is the most important part for you! Your host organization has the formal responsibility for providing you with an emergency plan and – just as important – to give you a security brief when you arrive at your destination. Make sure to remind them to follow this up.
- Check out the links with security information.
- It is probable that you will be in a situation where official recommendation, your gut feeling and/ or local information contradict each other. (“Is it OK to eat this salad?”, “There is no seatbelt in my colleague’s car, should I still join?”, “Some have told me this part of town is dangerous, others that it is completely fine”). How will you relate to such kind of contradictory advice in terms of health and security?
- Ask you partner who will take care of your security brief and when it will be