13 Health & Safety Tips for Your Internship Abroad

13 Health & Safety Tips for Your Internship Abroad

So you have put in the work and landed yourself a sweet internship abroad. After basking in that feeling of impending adventure you are probably realizing that there is a lot to do to prepare for your internship. Packing, finances, and finding a place to stay are might be very important but don’t forget to consider your health and safety either. While thinking about how to stay safe while interning abroad some preparation can go a long way toward a successful internship experience.  

Follow these safety tips for you internship abroad and your bound to have the time of your life.

Is interning abroad safe?

Let’s face: aside from a hermetically sealed room, no place on earth is 100 per cent safe. Thousands of interns spend time abroad every year without incident and you can as well. By researching safety tips for interning abroad before you depart and being smart on the ground you can have an incredible learning experience that’s more fun than fear. 

Remaining safe when traveling is so easy when you are prepared. By learning about your host country’s culture and gathering information from others that have lived there you will arrive armed with enough knowledge to safely navigate your new home. This could involve making changes to your daily routine altering how you dress or learning how to be aware of things around you.

Keep in mind that remaining safe and healthy while interning abroad won’t happen just like. You need to be an active participant in ensuring your own well being. You can’t eliminate each risk out there but being aware of things around you and following our health tips for interning abroad you are putting yourself on the right path to a successful and safe internship experience.   

The world’s safest countries that also double as popular intern abroad destinations

If you want to increase your chances of staying safe while traveling it doesn’t hurt to do a little research. No country is really perfect by finding out which countries are ranked the safest you can minimize the odds of running into issues. 

A lot of the safest countries are popular internship spots as well that means you get peace of mind to go along with all that career-building goodness. European countries are considered as high on the list overall and nations like Spain, Germany and Iceland are perfect places to improve your skills. If you are focused on English-speaking countries check out  Canada, Australia, New Zealand or Ireland. For those interested in Asia choosing an internship in Singapore or Japan  is a perfect option. 

13 basic health & safety tips

There is a lot to keep in mind when you arrive in a new country. By practicing these safety tips for interning abroad you will be well on your way to a successful internship:

Listen to yo mommas wash those hands!

1. Wash your hands. 

This looks simple but washing your hands is one of the best methods of staying healthy when traveling. In the early days of your internship when you are shaking a lot of hands and visiting new places it’s one of the best ways to stay away of getting sick. 

2. Know who to call.

Keep in mind you know the numbers for emergency services in your host country and keep all of your emergency contact numbers in more than one place. If your phone is lost or stolen you will be able to get in touch with the authorities your credit card or insurance company and your family too. 

3. Be a picky eater. 

Before you arrive in your host country make some research on food and waterborne disease. Is the water safe to drink from the tap? Do you need to consider how food is prepared? Depending on your destination you may need to skip out on certain foods, drinks, or preparation methods to stay away of food poisoning. 

4. Be discreet. 

Don’t show your money or new iPhone when out in public. Thieves commonly target people that look like foreigners and more than one traveler has had her phone plucked straight from her hand never to be seen again. Try to blend in with the locals through your dress and actions to stay away looking like an easy target. 

5. Buy health insurance. 

While the upfront expense may have you asking yourself if it’s worth it if you end up needing medical care while abroad you will be glad you don’t have to cover the cost out of pocket. Make sure you compare travel insurance plans and providers since coverage options and costs can vary greatly.   

Educate yourself about the culture and region to avoid any mishaps

6. Learn the local language. 

There might be no way to remain safer than to learn some of the local language. If your internship is not in an English speaking country brush up on the basics before going abroad. Will this serve you well when ordering dinner and buying souvenirs but it will be easy should you require help from strangers. 

7. Educate yourself. 

Learn about your host country and its current social and political issues there is a lot going on below the surface that visitors don't realize and having more details about local affairs is essential. Not only will this make you smarter when you are out and about it will be easy when chatting with co-workers around the water cooler. 

8. Be street smart. 

Whether you are in a country that drives on the other side of the road than you are used to or a place where traffic laws are only a suggestion learning how traffic works is very important. Traffic accidents are one of the main ways travelers are injured so stay away of being a victim by learning road rules. 

9. Dress your best. 

Pay close attention to how your colleagues dress do they dress formally in the office or is their apparel more laid-back? Does your host culture prefer simple dress? To be respected in your office and while on the street consider what you are wearing and if it’s suitable. What may be fine in your home country could be taken as offensive elsewhere. 

10. Be aware of your surroundings. 

Make some research on your host community and find out more about various areas of the city talk to locals. Are there certain areas that should be avoided after dark? Is it common for people especially women to walk alone at night? What safety tips should you follow to stay away of becoming the victim of a crime? Your co-workers and other locals are your best source of information.

Research some finance strategies and you’ll be an international hustla’ in no time. 

11. Become a money master. 

Before you leave think about how you want to handle your money. Are credit cards widely used in your host country? Should you get some local currency before you arrive? Try not to carry around large amounts of money everyday and ensure you have different ways to access funds. Cash machines can malfunction sometimes so having more than a single credit or debit card can save your life when yours disappears into the ATM. 

12. See your doctor. 

Apart from a fast check up to make sure you are healthy it’s very important to discuss your travel plans with a medical professional. Depending on your destination you may need more vaccines or medications. You can get an idea about what’s recommended by visiting the U.S. Centers for Disease Control travel website. If you will be away for a long time make sure you have appropriate amounts of any medications you are  taking. It’s not possible to get refills in other countries.   

13. Take care of yourself. 

it's one of the most important health tips for interning abroad. Mental health is often overlooked when traveling but it’s one of the most important times to implement self-care strategies. Internships abroad can be really stressful. You are not only navigating a new country’s culture but you are trying to find a new workplace culture too. You may be working long hours or have a lengthy commute so it’s important to find time for yourself. Your internship experience will be improved when make your mental health a priority guaranteed.

Special circumstances

Women and LGBTIQ interns might have additional safety concerns that doesn’t mean that interning abroad is not an option. By doing some research and preparation in advance you can still find the best host country to help you expand your professional skills.

 Self-care should be #1 on your list when it comes to safety. You deserve the best version of yourself.

Is it safe for women to intern abroad solo?

Women intern abroad by themselves all the time by taking into account all of the advice of how to stay safe while interning abroad you can have a successful internship experience while flying solo. Note that in some countries you may need to alter your habits or dress to better fit in with the local culture. Talk with your female colleagues about special safety tips for women in your host city this will help you get a feel for your environment while hopefully making some new friends.   

Sexual harassment in the workplace if you have been sexually harassed at your internship document the incident in writing. Report it to your in-country support staff let’s say all the staff are men and you would open up to a woman. You can reach out to a counselor or advisor back home. Skyping a 1-800 harassment hotline is acceptable as well.

Should I be worried about sexual harassment in the workplace?

Sexual harassment is a concern in your home country as well as your host country and it is something you need to take into consideration but don’t let it scare you from doing an internship abroad. Before you leave look for resources you can contact if there is an issue if your internship is organized through a placement program make sure you know who to contact in case of problems. Ask female colleagues what you should do if something happened. Not all companies have clear reporting structures or HR departments so knowing your resources and what steps to take can be useful if harassment happened. 

Where is it safe to intern abroad openly as a LGBTIQ*?

While interns that identify as LGBTIQ can work in any country they might come across with some challenges in countries that are less tolerant of these identities. Being open about who you are in some places can be really dangerous and this something that LGBTIQ identifying interns need to consider. 

Be a picky eater to avoid food poisoning but try something new every once and awhile.

Safety first yo!

Interning abroad can feel a little crazy sometimes not only are you learning about a new culture and country but you are trying to navigate an unfamiliar business culture while improving your professional skills too. Learning how to stay safe while interning abroad is another piece to the puzzle and it’s an important one to keep in mind as you begin your time overseas. A little preparation goes a long way toward ensuring that you are well-prepared and ready to rock your internship.  

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