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					Post Report Template

 POST REPORT for: (name of Embassy/Mission)
compiled/updated by:____________________________________________________ date:______________


General Information
Geography
Climate
History
Current political situation
Government and Administration
Population
Language(s)
Religion
Currency
Local Holidays
Time difference


Travel to and from: (name of city)_____________________________
Flights – availability, frequency, best routes, available airlines, cost, alternative
airport(s)/routes
Overland/overland + sea - best route, distance, approximate time for journey, cost.


Living in ______________________: General Information
Accommodation
    Orientation - the city and its surroundings; location of Embassy/Mission,official
     residence, other Embassy accommodation; areas where other diplomats reside;
     shopping areas, etc.
    Temporary accommodation – availability, hotels/apartments/other, proximity to
     Embassy/mission, suitable for children/pets/disabled, suitable for prolonged stays,
     cost, daily/weekly/monthly rates.
    Embassy-owned housing/compound – location, description, facilities, suitability for
     children/pets/disabled.
    Permanent Accommodation – easily available or not; proximity to
     Embassy/schools/etc; procured through estate or rental agents/newspaper ads/other,
     type of accommodation (house/apartment, etc); best time of year to look for
     accommodation; recommended areas; furnished/unfurnished; typical rents; laws
     governing rental agreements/any special clauses or conditions in leases; deposits;
     standard fixtures in rented accommodation (e.g. fitted kitchens, appliances, light
     fittings, wardrobes, blinds, curtains); feasibility of purchasing a property.
    Furniture – availability, quality, price, better to bring/import, rental (not) possible,
     climatic/other conditions affecting furniture/works of art/etc.
    Household appliances - availability, quality, price, compatibility of items brought
     from home, special items necessary (e.g. humidifiers, extra freezer, etc).
    Electricity – voltage, frequency, type of plugs, availability of adaptors/transformers,
     special problems.
    Gas/heating/AC – what is necessary/usually provided, problems with
     heat/humidity/other weather conditions.
    Insurance – available locally/arranged elsewhere, house/personal effects,
     fire/theft/other.
    Taxes/charges – what is usually included in rent, what else needs to be paid (e.g.
     heating, water, refuse, etc).
Adjusting to Local Life
    Cultureshock – general information about (un)anticipated differences impacting on
       the life of the officer and his/her family at this posting.
    Integration – the extent to which one can expect to integrate into the local
       community, any suggestions for doing so.
    Potential problems – any anticipated problems/difficulties that may be encountered.


Banking
    Bank accounts – possibility of opening account in local bank, ease of transactions,
      requirements/restrictions, credit cards/loans/savings accounts, charges,
      recommended bank.
    Local currency – description, exchange rate, extent of its use, circumstances when
      foreign currency is usual/necessary.
    Commerce - transactions mainly using cash/cheques/credit cards, credit card
      fraud/other problems, availability of ATM’s, acceptance of foreign credit cards.

Children
     Education – types of schools available, attach appendix A with details of suitable
                              rd
       schools, university/3 level options.
     Preschools – availability, type, ages catered for, language(s) spoken, meals
       available, attached to or a prerequisite for entry to a particular school, quality, typical
       cost.
     Crèche facilities – availability, suitability, quality, ages catered for, language(s)
       spoken, food available, typical cost.
     Childminding – locally available/bring nanny/au pair, after-school facilities, cost.
     Babysitting – locally available/au pair/nanny, cost.
     Extra-curricular activities – availability/accessibility of
       music/sports/scouting/dance/art/other activities, in school/local community/privately,
       cost.
     Language classes – availability of classes in local language/mother tongue.
     Social life – interaction with local community, school-related activities, parent-toddler
       groups.
     Health – any special health problems, necessity for medical/other precautions.
     Children with special needs – schools and other available facilities.
     Family friendliness – babies/children welcome in restaurants/public places;
       playgrounds/places for children; events/activities available for children/teenagers;
       possible for older children/teenagers to go out alone/use public transport.
     Special problems – security, health issues, laws regarding children/teenagers, etc

Clothing
     General – local dress code, any particular requirements for the climate, suitability of
       locally available clothing for men/women/children.
     Special clothing – occasions on which special clothing is necessary and details of
       requirements.

Communications
    Telephone – information on local telephone system, costs, choice of providers,
     quality of reception/coverage for mobile phones, any special restrictions on use of
     mobile phones (applicable to other family members)
    Computer/Internet connections – availability of internet access, quality of
     connection, availability of dial-up/ISDN/Broadband/DSL connections, list of providers,
     costs.
    Post – availability/services offered, efficiency (length of time for letter/printed
     matter/package by airmail/surface mail), restrictions on items posted/received.

Diplomatic Life
     Formalities – procedure(s) for registration with authorities/diplomatic ID for
        spouse/partner/family, necessity of visas for visiting family members/relatives/friends.
       Embassy/mission – size of embassy/mission, local diplomatic corps, any
        infringements of workload on family life.
       Diplomatic privileges and immunities – general information; diplomatic bag/pouch
        (access/frequency); information on customs clearance of personal goods; problems
        with importing/exporting works of art, electric/electronic goods, cars; items that
        can(not) be imported tax/duty free; procedure for reclaiming tax/duty, claiming tax
        exemption at time of purchase; importing from duty free suppliers (e.g. Peter
        Justesen)
       Entertaining – typical pattern of entertaining for officers (dinners/lunches/receptions,
        at home/in restaurant/elsewhere, with/without spouses, frequency); any spousal
        entertaining (lunches/morning coffees/afternoon teas/other); flowers/gifts(locally
        sourced/brought from home country); any very formal events, any special
        clothing/outfits/other needed; invitation/business cards available locally/have printed
        home.
       CD vehicles – information on acquiring CD plates, any special requirements.

Health and Hygiene
    Environmental Factors - height above sea-level, pollution, extreme temperatures,
        malaria/other insect-borne diseases, prevalent infectious diseases, parasitic illnesses,
        other health issues/risks.
    Vaccinations – which necessary/recommended, availability locally.
    Pharmacies/Medicines – Availability/quality of pharmacies/medicines; availability of
        over-the-counter/prescription medicines/similar brand names; cost; which medicines,
        etc to bring from home/buy on Internet; any restrictions on importing medicines.
    Doctors – standard care with GP’s or specialists (e.g. for children); direct access to
        specialists or referral by GP; costs; how does this fit in with medical cover arranged
        by MFA; attach appendix B with list of recommended doctors, dentists, other
        medical professionals.
    Dentists – public/private, quality, availability of dental hygienists, orthodontists, etc.
    Other medical professionals – availability of physiotherapists, chiropodists,
        opticians, psychologists, speech therapists, etc.
    Hospitals – public/private; standard/quality of care; choice of hospitals available;
        limitations (what elective surgery should not be considered/any emergencies for
        which it would be better to be evacuated to nearest (named) suitable health facility);
        standards of hygiene; blood supplies; is family expected to care for patient (e.g.
        feeding, washing, etc).
    Maternity care – in hospital/clinic; standard/quality of
        prenatal/perinatal/postnatal/neonatal care; incidence/safety/comfort of birth for foreign
        women.
    Alternative health – availability of alternative health practitioners, ease of
        accessibility, cost.
    Emergencies – doctor/hospital emergency service, emergency phone numbers,
        usual procedures.
    Drinking water – tap water (not) drinkable, filter (not) necessary, quality.
    Food – any precautions necessary when buying/preparing food, hygiene standards in
        restaurants, etc.
    Infestations of insects/vermin – prevalent types of infestation and associated
        problems, prevention, monitoring/control of problems, eradication of pests.

Household help
    Local domestic help – availability; recruitment (agency/newspaper ad/other);
      legislation; insurance; typical hours/duties; quality of service; average salary
      (payment in local/other currency): bonuses/medical expenses/accommodation/family
      entitlements; holiday entitlements; usual language of communication.
    Domestic help recruited in another country – (not) possible, legislation, visas,
      restrictions/problems.
    Au pairs/nannies – legislation, restrictions, language/other classes, social
      possibilities.
       Occasional catering/waiting staff – availability, recruitment
        (agency/company/personal recommendations), rates of pay, recommendations in
        appendix B.
       Cleaning/gardening services – availability, recruitment (agency/company/personal
        recommendations), rates of pay, recommendations in appendix B.

Leisure
     Newspapers, magazines, books – availability and quality of local press, availability
        of foreign press, availability and selection of books (fiction/non-
        fiction/children’s/foreign language), cost (vs. mail order/Internet bookstores), libraries,
        censorship/restrictions.
     TV/radio – local TV /radio, availability of foreign TV/radio, possibility of satellite/cable
        TV, TV/radio reception, TV/video system in use (PAL, SECAM, NTSC), costs,
        restrictions/difficulties.
     Music/Film/Theatre/Dance – availability/quality of live music/dance; availability of
        theatre performance (local, foreign, in which language(s)); frequency/ variety in
        cinemas/of film showings (indicate where) in original version/subtitled/dubbed.
     CDs/Videos/DVDs – availability, variety, cost (vs. Internet suppliers), availability of
        video/DVD rental (original version/subtitled/dubbed)
     Nightlife – restaurants, bars, clubs, dancing, etc.
     Places of interest – museums, art galleries, exhibitions, parks, beaches, areas of
        natural beauty.
     Sports – list of available sports, public/private facilities, ease of access, cost,
        membership requirements (entrance fees, nomination by existing member(s)).
     Spectator sports – matches, races, etc, accessibility/availability of tickets.
     Clubs/associations – type, ease of access, cost, membership requirements
        (entrance fees, nomination by existing member(s)).
     Day trips/weekends away – recommendations and suggestions for suitable day trips
        and weekends away; travel options, typical costs.

Pets
       Bringing them in – entry authorisation/quarantine requirements, vaccination
        requirements, paperwork, taxes/licences, forbidden animals.
       Keeping them – any laws/etiquette governing pets in public, availability of
        vets/recommendations, availability of pet food/supplies.

Security
    General conditions – general level of security, personal safety, security in the
       home/on the street/outside the city.
    Special conditions – special precautions, risks, areas to be avoided/meriting special
       awareness, etc

Shopping
    General profile – available shopping facilities (e.g. supermarkets, hypermarkets,
      small shops, indoor markets, open-air markets, shopping malls, diplomatic shop,
      wholesale/discount stores, etc); shopping hours; language(s) generally spoken; any
      difficulties encountered by foreigners/women; local etiquette.
    Food – where to shop for groceries, fruit/vegetables, meat/fish, frozen foods,
      specialty foods, etc; quality/range of available produce; foodstuffs that are hard to
      find/unavailable/overly expensive should be brought from home/can be ordered;
      availability of baby food/food for special diets (diabetic, coeliac, etc)/organic food;
      cost.
    Alcohol – availability/quality/range, buy locally/order (duty-free); restrictions, cost.
    Clothing – availability/quality/range of suitable men’s/women’s/children’s clothing,
      shoes, accessories, formalwear, sportswear; possibility of tailoring/dressmakers and
      availability/choice/quality of fabric.
    Other – availability/quality/range of electrical/electronic goods, household items,
      linens, DIY/garden supplies, personal hygiene items, cosmetics, stationery, children’s
      toys/games/books/party supplies, baby care items (e.g. disposable nappies, etc),
        baby equipment, glasses/contact lenses, art/craft/sewing supplies, sports equipment,
        film/photographic goods, local crafts, antiques, etc. List of items hard to
        find/unavailable/overly expensive/of poor quality attached to post report.
       Services – availability/quality of dry-cleaning/laundry, hairdressers, beauticians,
        passport photos, etc.


Spouses/partners/other family dependents
    Employment – possible/acceptable; availability; restrictions/difficulties; recognition of
      qualifications; effect on diplomatic status/immunity; average rates of pay;
      tax/insurance issues; employment agencies; list of possibilities (e.g. with
      own/other Embassy/Mission; international organisations; ‘home country’
      companies/organisations/institutions, educational/medical establishments; etc)
      in Appendix B.
    Voluntary work – possibility, availability, list of ideas in Appendix B.
    Study – possibility, ease of accessibility, available options, recognition of degrees,
      entry requirements, costs, local language classes (language schools, private tuition,
      university).
    Social – International Women’s group/other International groups (e.g. American
      Women’s groups)/local groups, ease of accessibility, activities offered; sports clubs,
      bridge groups.
    Possible problems – attitudes towards women/unmarried partners/same-sex
      partners/single parents/foreign-born spouses/partners; recognition of unmarried
      partners/same-sex partners/foreign born spouses/partners (residence permits/ID
      cards, inclusion in social invitations, etc); particular difficulties for unmarried/same-sex
      partners/foreign-born spouses/partners.

Transport
    Public transport in city – type(s) available (bus/tram/train, etc), efficiency
      (frequency, reliability, etc), price, proximity to Embassy.
    Taxis – availability, price, safety (lone women, teenagers, etc).
    Cars – buy locally/import (tax free?), makes of car available, second-hand cars,
      resale of cars, any special requirements (e.g. A/C, winter tyres, alarm, etc).
    Car maintenance – availability, preferred makes of car, spare parts, quality/reliability
      of service, cost.
    Car insurance – available locally/arranged elsewhere, difficulties/restrictions.
    Driving licence - any valid licence/local/international licence necessary, ease of
      acquiring local driving licence, documents necessary to obtain local licence, special
      regulations/requirements/tests, any restrictions (especially for women).
    Motoring advice – extent and condition of road network, driving conditions,
      recommended vehicle(s) for local conditions, rules of the road, safety, local hazards,
      parking, car theft, etc
    Fuel – availability/cost of different types, any problems with supply/quality.
    Bicycles/motorbikes/mopeds – appropriateness for men/women/children, safety,
      rules of the road, permits/requirements, local cost.
    Travel – road/rail/air/sea options, costs.


FURTHER READING AND USEFUL WEBSITES



PREPARATION FOR POSTING

Check the post report to see if you need to have/arrange any of the following –

        Gifts from home
        Language classes/books
        Medical/dental check up
        Medical records
        Medication
        Passport photos
        Printing of invitation/business cards
        Subscriptions to magazines/newspapers
        Vaccinations
        Visas

Check the attached list of items that are difficult/impossible/expensive to source as well as the
Shopping, Leisure and Accommodation sections of the post report to make a list of things you
may need to purchase before you go.

				
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