All Intern Abroad HQ programs are developed in cooperation with the community and are only offered once the local host organization, alongside our IAHQ leadership team, confirm that they can meet all of our risk management and health & safety requirements. Placements are monitored on an ongoing basis to gauge experiences and help us continually improve our risk management practices. Emergency response procedures are also reviewed, audited and refined in each destination on a regular basis.
Our approach to risk management and participant health & safety is based on two key elements. Firstly, making sure all local teams have the appropriate practices and procedures for reducing risk and resolving incidents quickly and safely, and secondly, ensuring participants understand the steps they can take to keep themselves safe and healthy while they are on an IAHQ program.
Practices and procedures
We take a range of steps to ensure that we’ve done our groundwork when it comes to managing risks properly. For us this means conducting risk assessments of any new programs and placements before they launch and working collaboratively with local team to establish thorough risk management procedures and regular reporting. This helps us to build a clear picture of where risks lie, enables us to monitor performance across our programs, and ensures that in the unlikely event of an incident occurring, we can resolve it quickly and limit the impact participants and the community.
The specific risks identified in our program risk assessments vary from program to program, but typically include risks relating to:
- Emergencies and serious incidents
- Participant illness and physical harm
- Assault and theft
- Alcohol and illegal substances
You can expect the following practices and procedures:
- Detailed risk assessments for every program
- First aid equipment and first aid trained staff available at every program
- Thorough incident management plans
- Clearly displayed evacuation and emergency information
- On site security measures
- Support available for mental health concerns
Safety information and training
It is also very important that participants are well prepared. We think having a clear understanding of the potential risks and how to avoid them, before setting off on an IAHQ program significantly helps to reduce the likelihood of incidents occurring. Given the level of supervision provided on our programs, the biggest potential risks for participants are often present in activities they undertake in their free time, rather than activities undertaken as part of their program.
You can expect the following safety information and training:
- Broad advice around safe travel practices
- Country-specific pre-departure information about local risks and how to avoid them
- Detailed safety briefings provided by our local teams during orientation
The IAHQ team are also experts in participant safety and can provide first-hand insight into how participants can keep themselves out of harm’s way. Sometimes this advice is as simple as suggesting to a participant that taking one form of public transport over another is a wise move, but it’s the kind of help that only an expert can provide.
It’s important to always remember that program participants have a responsibility to play an active role in their own safety and personal conduct. Travel insurance is a compulsory requirement for all of our interns. Your travel insurance policy should include coverage for events such as medical emergencies, travel disruptions, personal property (that could be lost or damaged whilst traveling), and last-minute trip cancellation (due to unforeseeable events, that are out of your control). While many people already have private health insurance, specific travel insurance policies are necessary to supplement this, so that you’ll have more comprehensive security and peace of mind abroad.
To point you in the right direction, we’ve secured a partnership with World Nomads. They’re a flexible provider, recommended by Lonely Planet, and they’re perfect for independent travellers. Most importantly, all of our interns that take out a World Nomads insurance policy can access their Worldwide 24/7 Emergency Assistance Team. You’ll receive round-the-clock support from the crew that are hosting you on your program, but your travel insurance policy adds an imperative layer of international support.