Very often students and their parents (OK, more often the parents!) contact us with concerns about safety and security in the countries we work in. We know that venturing to lands unknown can be daunting and often you just don’t know what to expect. That’s why we’re here to give you all the info, advice and guidance you need before you set off and while you’re away!
Safety and security is of course a key priority for us too, which is why all of our destinations are in countries considered to be politically and economically stable by the Foreign Commonwealth Office.
The Programme Managers and staff teams in each destination are local to the area and ensure that the Work the World houses are in safe neighbourhoods. You will be given an orientation on your first day of placement so you feel comfortable and relaxed making your own way around the city, whichever destination you choose.
This week we asked our teams in each destination to ask the students on placement how they feel about safety and security whilst they’re away. We were very pleased to hear that pretty much everyone said they feel safer than they expected to!
Nathanial Williams on placement in Arusha said:
“Before I came to Tanzania I was concerned about safety during my trip. I was hopeful that it wouldn’t be a barrier to enjoying my trip and it’s not at all! On arrival I asked Brian and Freddy where I could go jogging. On one of my first excursions I met two other joggers who said they never had any problem, so my confidence grew and I ventured further field, I was rewarded everywhere with a smile, in fact the further from town the safer you felt and the scenery is amazing.”
Lucy Clay, Hannah Charters and Lorna Filby are on placement in Dar es Salaam, they all mentioned the great location of the house and getting around Dar.
“The house is in a very safe location, close to shops and easy to catch public transport from. It’s really cheap to get to the hospital and catching the daladala to the hospital is great fun, especially through the morning rush hour traffic! There are plenty of means of transport and it’s safe to go out in the evenings. Overall I feel very safe here in the house and outside of the house.”- Hannah Charters
“I feel very safe I the house. The location of the house is also very excellent as it is one of the safest areas in Dar. Going out I feel safe and overall I think doing my elective with Work the World is the safest way to do an elective. Work the World take safety very seriously which is a real comfort in a foreign country.” - Lorna Filby
In Mwanza, which is really off the tourist trail and much more rural than our other Tanzanian destinations Nur Nabila Binti Abd Rahim said “it’s a very safe and comfortable house with friendly staff”.
Sean Sutton said he feels “very safe. Our manager Barny has supplied us with many reliable taxi numbers to use at any time plus two numbers to contact him on and he’s encouraged us to ring him at any time if required.”
Megan Anderson, also in Mwanza said she has found “Mwanza to be wonderfully friendly and welcoming”.
Joe, the Programme Manager in Ghana said that happy faces and smiles welcomed the weekly question which is always a good start! All students agreed to the popular saying that Ghana is the 'Gateway to Africa' - primarily because of the friendliness and the feeling of security in the communities. Rachael said that before she arrived she was a bit worried about how safe Takoradi was going to be, but now it’s not a concern. Joe said:
“It is safe to move around in the area where the Work the World house is. Students have done night shifts and returned to the house around midnight without any feeling of fear. They said my assurance has really helped”. Students added “even when we are away on the weekends, we have never felt insecure. Everyone is willing to assist and make us feel at home everywhere we go. Taxi drivers care the friendliest which is key to feeling safe whiles in their cars”.
Students on placement in Nepal all said they feel very secure and haven’t had any concerns about safety since they arrived:
“I feel very safe at the Work the World house compared to when I have stayed outside of the house. I feel that my belongings are secure and I feel like I can relax the instant I get "home" from hospital. It is a very friendly location!”- Laura Porter
“I feel safe here- no worries at all. It has a friendly atmosphere and it is easy place to become familiar with.” - Andrew Peeling
The feedback from Argentina was also really positive and all the students on placement said the staff team and the doctors they worked with make them feel completely comfortable, safe and secure in and around the city.
Aurore van Hoof said “Getting around by public transport is fine and the doctors are always looking after students and make them feel welcome too”. Dannika Buckley also said “The house is really well situated, near a busy area with lots of people around the whole time. Walking back from the hospital is easy and I feel safe”.
Of course you should always be aware of staying safe when you are somewhere unfamiliar but don’t forget that the unknown is one of the most exciting things about heading overseas! With the in-country support of our staff teams, the right attitude and some common sense we’re pretty sure you’ll feel safe and secure throughout your placement. And if there is anything you want to ask or are worried about (or your parents want to know!) before you start your adventure just give us a call.