Are you ready?
“In Uganda, the merest gesture was lifesaving: rehydrating a child or giving him a course of antibiotics” said Dr Peter Hakewill about his first field placement with Médecins Sans Frontières. “The first week I arrived, the doctor whom I was replacing went, and I realised I was the only doctor in the whole district: it was just me. I remember feeling awed by that responsibility.”
Everyone’s motivation for working in the field is different but we see some commonalities within our teams:
- a desire to dedicate part of one’s life to assisting people who need help
- a genuine interest in people from other cultures
- an ability to share knowledge, experience and skills with others
- an interest to challenge oneself professionally, personally and culturally
- a willingness to invest personally by being away from family and friends for an extended period
No matter where and what work you do in the field, you will have the opportunity to develop your professional and personal capacities in ways in which you would not have imagined.
We support our international field staff through pre-departure preparatory activities, pre and post placement briefings and debriefings, health management and for those committed to pursuing a career with us, further training opportunities.
However despite the opportunities, field work is not a decision to be taken lightly. We encourage you to review our self-assessment check list. It is not a psychological test but rather a way to think about yourself and about your commitment to humanitarian assistance in the types of places we work, along with some of the constraints you may face.