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.