Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Safety First

As an expat (one who lives and works overseas) there are just some things you have to know. You have to know what are the requirements to getting into the country, you have to know what little unspoken things you need to try and avoid so as not to draw too much attention to yourself or insult the local people, and you need to know what to do in case of an emergency. I'm lucky because I am not just traveling here in Turkey, I am living and working here with an organization who handles matters of health insurance, life insurance and the like. I'm in good hands, but it's not like that for all workers and it is most definitely not like that for travelers. Sure, when you travel you are told to make sure to have traveler's insurance and to keep your wits about you. But those warnings aren't enough. Do you know what to do in case of a medical emergency? Do you know what your local embassy will and will not do? The reason this has come to my attention recently is because some former student's of mine had a relative who had a terrible accident while traveling abroad. He had travel insurance but the insurance company wants to blame the hotel, the hotel is throwing up their hands at the whole thing and as of yet, the local embassy hasn't been much help. Now, I've never come across any issues with the embassies while I've been overseas (and that has been for 12 years), but I've also never had a major medical issue to contend with. So I looked up some stuff online with my embassy to see what I need to do to safe guard myself. I found out that while the embassy can help with evacuations etc, they will not and cannot pay for it... so you have to have that money ready or an insurance company who is willing to pay. That's pretty intense. Makes me think that I need to get busy saving for a rainy day!! They will also help you find medical care if you need them to do that, they will contact your family and friends at home on your behalf, and they will help arrange for funds to be transfered from home to the local medical facility if you need that. Sure, seems like they can really help, but what if your situation falls outside of those neat little norms? Then what?
Please watch the attached video and let me know what you think... the family is understandably angered, upset and distraught. The local embassy does give the impression of not lending a hand, but I am not sure what course of action they can take considering that it falls outside of their simple little norms of what to do in an emergency. It's left me feeling sad for that family, outraged that more isn't being done (particularly by the insurance company that has already taken this man's money), and a little interested in making more sure that my own situation is more secure.

Global News

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