Make a photocopy of your passport's identification page and keep it separate from the original when you travel. For added security, leave a photocopy with a friend or relative at home. This will speed the replacement process should you lose your passport. If your passport is lost or stolen, immediately contact the nearest mission representing your country, for a replacement. Also, report the theft to the police. Get a copy of the police report or the report number. To get a replacement you will need to complete an application form, produce written evidence of your citizenship (for example, a birth or citizenship certificate), produce a copy of the police report or number, present new photographs and pay the required fee.
Remember, your passport is your most important legal document
while travelling overseas. In some countries it is required that foreigners
carry their passports at all times. Guard your passport carefully and
do not travel away from your study abroad site without it.
You will require a visa to travel to certain countries. Check with your travel agent or with the country's embassy or consulate in Canada to find out. Don't forget to ask about the visa requirements for any countries that you may be travelling through on your way to or from your host country. If you are an EU citizen, you should check to find out if you need a visa to study or work in the countries to which you may be travelling or if each requires a separate visa. Work visas are available through SWAP/Travel Cuts or Visa sections of the various embassies.
Visas can take a few hours to eight weeks or more to obtain.
If you are applying for your visa by mail, use registered mail or a courier,
as you will have to send your passport in the package. Make sure you include
all pertinent items. Forgetting to do so could delay your visa by weeks.
Take a few extra visa photos with you. They can be invaluable
if you try to extend your visa, get a visa for a third country, or do
other official business. You can obtain these inexpensively at photography
stores or mall photo-booths.
Bank letters such as a Certificate of Balance or guarantor letters are needed in order to obtain your visa/permit and to clear customs in the country of your exchange university. Check with the consulate of your host country in Canada for complete Visa regulations.
For useful websites go to the Resources Section on Travel Documents
of Travel Documents
Other documents you may wish to acquire
If you do not speak the language of your host country, a small, easy-to-use language phrasebook can be almost as important as a good guidebook. Make sure the phrase book you use is geared towards people like you, and covers the things you are likely to say "Where is the bathroom?" and does not focus on situations you are unlikely to find yourself in. i.e. "Tell the chauffeur to bring the limo". It should also help you with the script a country uses, if necessary. The quality of the dictionary is essential. Although a dictionary may seem new the language may be out of date. The money invested now in a quality dictionary will save you some hassle in the future.
Language Skills Training may be free or subsidized through the country consulate or a cultural community group. As well, self-teaching programs are available at local libraries and bookstores. Reading country-specific newspapers and listening to country-specific radio will also help you increase your language skills.
For useful websites go to the Resources Section on Language Skills
Passes are definite money savers for extensive travel before or after
your period of study, internship or employment. Train passes include the
Eurail Pass, Aerail Flexipass and Japan Rail Pass. There are also air
passes. Some passes must be purchased outside of their respective countries/regions.
Your travel agent should have details.
For more info on in-country travel go to the Resources Section on Travel While Abroad
Visit your local library to gain an understanding of the history, politics and social customs of your host country. This knowledge will benefit you during your stay abroad. You may wish to acquire a local map before your departure. It will allow you to familiarize yourself with your host city before your departure and is a great tool once you arrive. It can also help if you don’t speak the host language and are asking directions. People can point you in the right direction using your map!
Find a good guidebook about the country or region where you will be studying and/or travelling. Most will cover the history, environment, culture, language, economy, government, food, and art of that specific region. They also provide concrete advice on visas, getting there, health and safety, packing, local transportation, currency, and shopping. Purchase the guidebook a few months before your departure. The world changes at lightning speed so take all that your guidebook says with a good dose of caution.
Don't pick the first one that you see. Take time and look at all the guidebooks and consider buying one(s) geared to your own style and itinerary (Lets Go, Off the Beaten Track, Lonely Planet )
Some things to consider when buying a guidebook and phrasebook:
For more info on in-country travel go to the Resources Section on Background Reading
It is possible for Canadians overseas to vote in federal elections. Before going abroad, phone Elections Canada at 1-800-463-6868 and give them your name and overseas address. If an election is called while a Canadian is away, those registered will be notified by mail. They may be given a ballot in the mail, or required to travel to the nearest Canadian embassy, high commission or consulate.
In order to vote in a Canadian provincial election, Canadians must vote by proxy, i.e., a person of voters-choice votes for that person on election day. Each person’s circumstances are considered individually. To vote by proxy, make sure your name is on the enumeration list in your electoral district, then obtain a proxy application form from your local returning office. For more information go to http://www.elections.ca
In today's globalized economy, there are few places in the world where you cannot get what you want unless you are in a very remote location. It’s probably not necessary to take enough toilet paper to last until you come home. If you forget something, you can either buy it there or do without it. However, some things may be difficult to find. Ask someone who has visited the place before if there is anything special you should take.Take as little as possible!
For more info on in-country travel go to the Resources Section on What to Take
Most often you will be flying to your destination. Shop around when buying your plane ticket. Get price quotes from at least five travel agents. You'll be surprised how much they vary! Book ahead as discounts are often available early. If necessary, make special requests for vegetarian meals or a window seat when you buy your ticket. If you buy an open return ticket, make sure you will be able to book your flight home when you want to.
For useful websites go to the Resources Section on Flight Booking
Record of Travel Details
Having that plane ticket finally in your hands and reading the place names over and over again is one of the most exciting pre-departure moments you'll have. The dream is now a reality.
Dress respectably when you travel. Treat immigration officials with the utmost respect. You may have to show your passport, visas and proof of immunizations to them. The fact that you have a visa in your passport does not guarantee your entry into a country. The immigration officials at the border hold the final decision. They have about twenty seconds to decide if you are being truthful about the purpose for visiting their country. They have the authority to make your life very difficult and you have little or no recourse. Don't be afraid to tell immigration officials that you are a university student. Remember students are usually respected worldwide. Study abroad students should have their passport, visas, letter of acceptance to the host institute, proof of financial status, return ticket and proof of immunizations ready to show in that order. Remember for easy border crossings, be friendly (no matter how tired you are) and be ready to show everything but so as not to complicate things - produce only what is asked for.
Never joke about carrying bombs or drugs, not even to a friend. You will be arrested immediately, even if it was obviously meant in jest. Never carry a package or envelope through customs for someone else. It may contain drugs, guns or other prohibited material. You will be held responsible and could be charge with smuggling.
Drug use and trafficking is prohibited almost everywhere around the world, even in places where drugs seem more socially acceptable than in Canada. In some countries, the automatic penalty for possession of even small quantities of drugs is execution.
After your passport has been stamped and you have collected your luggage, you must pass through a customs inspection. You will probably have received a customs declaration form on the plane. Customs officials will examine this when they look at your luggage. Your bags may be examined very carefully, or you may be waved through with no special attention. Some countries may demand proof that you have enough money to support yourself during your stay. Others will only allow you entry if you can prove that you will be leaving. Be prepared to show your return ticket, or any visas that show you plan to visit another country.
Before you go, watch the video or read the booklet Bon Voyage, But... available from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT). You should receive the booklet with your passport. If not, you may obtain either of these free of charge online at: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/Consular-e/publications_menu-e.htm. This booklet contains information for Canadians travelling abroad, such as customs, consular services and important contacts in the DFAIT.
Any expensive personal items that you take with you such as cameras, tape recorders, personal computers and radios should be registered with Canadian Customs prior to your departure, particularly if they are new or foreign made. Go to a Canada Customs office and utilize their free identification procedure. They will register all valuable items that have serial numbers or other unique markings. By registering these items before you leave, you will avoid being questioned about whether or not they are subject to duty when you return. You should also save all of your receipts for any major purchases you make overseas, as you will have to declare any new articles on your return. Contact the customs office for current import allowances.
Why do you need insurance? Well, if you have ever known someone who has visited the doctor, broken a bone, had to change their travel plans, had a bicycle stolen, been in a car accident or lost their wallet – then you know how easily the unexpected can happen. Travellers, like anyone else, are prone to accidents and medical emergencies. To prevent unnecessary duress, you must purchase health, trip cancellation, property and credit card insurance to cover accidents or loss.
The type of insurance you purchase will depend upon your present coverage, type of travel and length of stay in the host country. When shopping for insurance, there are fundamental questions you should ask:
For more info on in-country travel go to the Resources Section on Insurance
Before you start shopping for insurance, check to see if you are already covered by a parent’s or spouse’s plan. You may be able to pay a small supplemental fee and get coverage if your parents or spouse have existing private health insurance. However, ensure that you will be comfortable being part of someone else’s plan. Some medical procedures you may require while abroad you may want to keep private. Some host countries or universities provide mandatory health insurance for all international students.
Provincial health plans cover only a set fee for emergency health services outside Canada. The rate is usually that of the same service in the home province. Many health services outside Canada cost much more than the provincial health plan pays and you are liable for any difference in cost. If you are away for more than six months, you must notify your provincial health plan that you will be out of the province; failing to do so may mean you will not be covered while you are away and/or for up to three months after you return. If you are currently covered by a provincial plan be sure to contact the closest office to find out what the limitations of your coverage may be while you’re away and after your return. Provincial health plans also recommend that you purchase supplementary health coverage for travelling. In most cases you may need to pay for medical care up front and submit receipts to your insurance carrier. Be familiar with the proper procedure before you leave. Ontario residents see the Ontario Ministry of Health web page www.gov.on.ca/health/. For other provincial health insurance plans visit http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/
Travel and Cancellation Insurance
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