How to Prepare & Deal with an Emergency in Vietnam
Picture this, you have your luggage packed, you’re being all pumped up about the upcoming adventure for an international internship in Vietnam. The last thing you want to think of is an emergency abroad. Unfortunately, accidents happen in all shapes and sizes while you travel abroad and you can only better be safe than sorry.
It doesn’t help that nowadays, with the mainstream media going off constantly about accidents, terrorists attacks and natural disaster, the world can seem to be a little too gloomy and dangerous to travel. A terrorist attack, a political uprising can cause an immediate halt to your internship abroad trip.
Vietnam is one of the safest countries to visit because it is entirely conflict-free (according to the Independent). Picture: anorexiasupport.net
Luckily, for those who are about to or still deciding on Vietnam as a destination to intern, Vietnam ranked among the safest country worldwide where visitors can avoid the threat of terrorism by the Global Peace Index (2016) and according to The Independent (UK), Vietnam was one of only ten countries in the world to experience no conflict. However, there are still a lot of possibilities of accidents during your internship in Vietnam, which is why we want to make sure, that when the “worst case scenario” happens, you are well-prepared and know how to deal with it or who to contact.
1. Outline a plan:
Spend adequate time checking and double check travel requirements needed for your trip. Will you have to bring your passport with you whenever you go outside in the country or is it safer to leave it at home? Can you bring certain medicine to Vietnam or where you can purchase them in the country? Who will be your point of contact in Vietnam and in your home country?
It is even better if you can get other people involved in this process, for example your friends who travelled, intern in Vietnam or abroad before, expats you find on the Internet and so on. It usually gets much easier if you are doing your internship in Vietnam with an internship provider like SE Vietnam, we have our own protocols for emergency and we will inform you all the guidelines in the pre-departure orientation as well as in the in-country orientation. You can also be connected with an alumnus of ours who may come from the same university or region with yours and they might just be the next best person to tell you what to prepare and how to prepare for emergency. On top of that, we have a team of professionally trained program coordinator and local buddy that can be ready to support you 24/7 should anything happen.
An onsite Orientation at SE Vietnam for the SEND Group Internship in Vietnam Program
2. Know your general information:
This is usually one of the things that cause troubles the most for our students while they are in Vietnam. While the address at home can be memorized in matter of minutes, the combination of Vietnamese accent marks, imperfect pronunciation and the infamous alleyways that are symbolized with slashes make it very hard for most foreigners to memorize their apartment/homestay/hotel address. Our advice for you is to always have the address written down on your phone or physically somewhere else (in case your phone battery fails you after a long day of work or a long night of partying). Make sure to show the address the taxi/motorbike Uber driver so they can take you home. What can be even better is to memorize your neighborhood or any area that you travel to very often, jot down a few street names, some important landmarks (a convenient store, a market, a lake…) draw a mind map and make sure to walk around the place several times so you can know how to get to a safe place when you are lost.
Carring a card with necessary general information helps, an SOS card like worn around the neck like this is given each of our student and it proved many times to be of tremendous help.
3. Have a list of English-speaking hospitals you can visit during emergency and locate the nearest local embassy.
A list of trusted hospitals in Vietnam with English speaking staffs can be found here. Make sure not to “do it the Vietnamese way” by purchasing medicine from a pharmacy without a doctor’s prescription for even non-serious health problems like the common cold as you may have pre-exisiting conditions or alergies that the pharmacist may not be aware of. Contacts of your nearest home country Embassy or Consulate can easily be found by a quick Google search, just make sure you have their address and contacts written down, even better, you can pay a visit to the Embassy/Consulate if it is located not too far and you are staying in the country for a considerable length during your internship in Vietnam.
4. Utilize the Resources from the Government of your Home Country:
When you apply for a Vietnam visa, whether by yourself or through an agency, your plans of stay in Vietnam will be stored collected should there occur any emergency. However, it is also smart to explore what your own government advice you to do or what assistance they will provide in cases of serious crisis. For example, the U.S. Department of State and the Bureau of Consular Affairs have put together a go-to list of what student travelers can and cannot do in a crisis and what they can expect from their government back home. This is an excellent, thorough resource to review and find answers to questions such as:
What is the Department of State’s role during a crisis overseas?
Do you always evacuate U.S. citizens during a crisis overseas?
Will the U.S. government pick me up in an emergency?
What happens during an evacuation?
How can I receive updated information during a crisis?
What if I do not have access to email or phone service?
And finally, the ultimate common-sense safety tip is to stay out of trouble when you are travelling. If something like protests, demonstrations, or a national crisis of some sort are happening, do not get involved. It may seem tempting, but not engaging will help ensure your safety. And if something bad happens, call your local embassy. The embassy will help you locate medical assistance or legal representation.
Stay out of troubles and you will have LOTS of fun during your internship in Vietnam
Again, international internship programs providers like SE Vietnam work hard to ensure their participants safety and have had extensive experience in doing so. If you want to have a safe and stress-free time interning in Vietnam, then we are the right people to work with.
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