BEFORE YOUR ASSIGNMENT
On the Move. Preparing to go.
One of our greatest sources of stress is fear of the unknown. To help reduce the fear and stress related to a new field work assignment, it is helpful to get as much information as possible about your new mission, its geography, climate, local conditions, and culture. You will also want to find out specific information about the security situation there. Whether you are moving alone or with your family, it is essential that you get as much information as possible about the new location.
As soon as possible, once the decision to go has been made, get a map of the area you will be working in and post it in your house. This will help you, your family, and friends visiting, become familiar with the new work site. It also helps all of you to begin the psychological process of adjusting to the idea of your impending move.
Travel guides and books, local guidebooks and government publications can provide helpful information about general conditions in the region you will be travelling to as well as the surrounding regions. However, these guides may also be out-of-date if the region has been in a state of civil disorder for any length of time and should be checked against current on-the-ground information. If possible, try to get in touch with someone who is currently at the duty station or mission. If that’s not possible, then talk to people who have worked there.
Look up the mission or duty station on the main UN website. For peacekeeping missions, start with the Peace Operations Intranet (POINT) for information about mission mandate, local conditions, climate, culture, economy and financial and social systems. The website can also be useful in helping you understand what to expect in terms of housing, shopping and entertainment. This should be your first source of reference material.