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Intern Health and Safety

Intern Health and Safety

The safety and wellbeing of our interns has and always will be our number one priority. We are trusted by interns to ensure they are well prepared for their trip, and that we have processes and procedures in place to ensure our interns stay safe and any risks are minimized.

Like our sister organization, International Volunteer HQ, we’ve always followed best practice and industry-leading procedures. We are proud to say that we have an unmatched record when it comes to keeping interns safe.

Angelica Ante Abroad internship in Peru

"Living with a family that was not my own was a scary thought, but I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. I felt safe and comfortable in their home, and they were very supportive and accommodating to my needs. The staff always welcome you with a warm smile, the activities every week helped me bond and create some great friendships with awesome people, and the support that the local team offers to help us succeed and make the most of our time here is limitless"

Angelica Ante internship abroad in Peru Quote from Angelica

How we’re keeping interns safe in a Covid-19 world:

When the Covid-19 pandemic began, we introduced a number of extra health and safety measures that have been implemented by all our local teams. These have been designed to minimize the risk of interns introducing a new infection to the local community, and minimize the risk of cross-infection between interns and from the local community.

These measures are in addition to our standard safety policies and are strictly enforced across every program to minimize the risks associated with Covid-19.

All interns tested for Covid-19 within 72 hours of travel

Health & safety information provided during orientation

Strict disinfecting standards at placements & accommodation

Greater physical distance between interns

  • All interns traveling abroad must be tested for Covid-19 within 72 hours prior to travel, where this is possible in their locality.Some governments require pre-travel testing from travelers within 48 hours of boarding their first flight. We’re asking interns to present a medical certificate on arrival at the program to verify they have not tested positive for Covid-19, but this may also be a mandatory government requirement in order to enter their country.
  • During orientation, each intern will be provided information about Covid-19 symptoms, local health facilities, and how to minimize possible infection.
  • Increased frequency and depth of cleaning practices is taking place in both accommodation and placement locations.
  • Antibacterial spray/wipes are present at all placements with surfaces wiped between volunteer shifts and individual/group changeovers.
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizers will be available at project sites and at the program base.
  • We are asking interns to maintain a greater physical distance from one another in accommodation and placements.
  • Symptomatic individuals will be isolated from others in accordance with local regulations and WHO guidelines. If symptoms persist or are of concern, individuals will be assisted in contacting a healthcare provider for testing, advice and/or treatment.

All of our interns should also take personal responsibility for their own health and the safety of others. Please do not travel if you are feeling ill or if there is a risk you may be an asymptomatic carrier of Covid-19 – for example, if you have been exposed to an infected individual within the 14 days before you start your program.

More about our Covid-19 response

Managing health and safety across our programs

Managing health and safety across our programs:

We have a comprehensive approach to managing health and safety procedures and reducing risks across all of our programs. This gives interns the knowledge and confidence they need to stay safe, secure and healthy.

  • As part of our B Corporation certification process, we regularly review and optimize our health and safety policies to ensure that our impact on interns, in-country teams and local communities remains a positive one.
  • When programs are set up, we train the local team on best practice intern management, including industry-leading health and safety procedures.
  • All Intern Abroad HQ programs are required to adhere to our Risk Management Policy. We regularly visit our programs to meet with local teams and volunteers to ensure that this is being adhered to.
  • We actively seek feedback from interns and continually revise our health and safety procedures to ensure they are effective and meet expectations.
  • The IAHQ team provides wrap-around support from start to finish and our local teams are available in-country 24/7 for interns to voice any concerns and support any incidents that arise.
  • We require interns to have travel insurance when they travel abroad with us. We can help you choose a provider that covers everything you need.
Protecting interns with the right travel insurance

Protecting interns with the right travel insurance:

At Intern Abroad HQ, we’ve partnered with World Nomads, because unlike many other travel insurance providers, they do not have an endemic or pandemic exclusion for policies purchased by US residents. This means that you may make claims arising from Covid-19 for the benefits specified in your policy.

These benefits include emergency medical and trip interruption coverage for you personally or a travel companion who contracts Covid-19 or needs to quarantine when traveling.

If you unexpectedly catch Covid-19 at home before you leave for your trip, you may also be eligible for trip cancellation coverage, which represents compensation for any pre-paid non-refundable travel expenses such as flights, hotels, and excursions.

Learn more about travel insurance

How we keep you safe during your program

  • All interns are met by a member of our local team when arriving at their program destination and receive an airport transfer to ensure they arrive safely at their intern accommodation.
  • Interns complete a Program Orientation, which includes a detailed briefing about risks that are specific to your location and helps you get to grips with the local culture and program objectives.
  • Local teams are on hand 24-hours a day to provide direct support and interns are given contact details for these staff members so they can be reached quickly.
  • Intern Abroad HQ staff also regularly check-in with interns at the accommodation to ensure everything is going well.
  • All Intern Abroad HQ programs are required to adhere to our Risk Management Policy that has been specially designed to acknowledge that no two intern programs have the same risk profile.
  • Risk mitigation plans for each program are monitored and updated through a formal review every year and compliance checks are completed in-person by visiting.
  • All host families and all staff directly or indirectly employed by Intern Abroad HQ undergo thorough background checks before we begin working with them.
Manal Abdulwahb Abroad internship in Peru

The clinic I worked at was only a 15-minute walk from my home stay and was very convenient and safe. The program descriptions matched with what I did at the clinic, so there were not any surprises. My program coordinator with Intern Abroad HQ was always so quick to respond if I had any questions, however the internship manual has a lot of the information you need prior to departure. Best decision I made.

Manal Abdulwahb internship abroad in Peru Quote from Manal

Emergency response:

  • Every intern is provided with detailed briefings about what to do in the unlikely event of an emergency, and local teams have evacuation plans in place as well as support networks of skilled professionals that they can call upon should a need arise.
  • Interns are given emergency contact phone numbers and they are supported to purchase local mobile phone connections so they can get help quickly.
  • Emergency response procedures in each destination are reviewed, audited and refined on a regular basis and we’re constantly making improvements.