Practical Information

 

Passport Information

All students who plan on studying abroad are required to get a passport. A passport costs about $60 and is valid for 5 years. To obtain a passport you must first get an application form which are available at any travel agency or the passport office. You must then complete the application form and submit it along with 2 passport photos (can be taken at most photo shops for approximately $20) and proof of your Canadian citizenship (your birth certificate). CameraMUN at Memorial University can take passport photos for students. You can then deliver or send the application form and documents to:

The Passport Office
Toronto Dominion Building
140 Water St., Suite 702
St. John's, NF
Telephone Inquiries 1 800 567-6868

Remember to submit your passport application in plenty of time. The normal processing time for a hand delivered application is 5 working days.

 Visa Information

A visa is an endorsement on a passport giving an individual specific permission to work, study or simply enter a foreign country. While most countries in Western Europe do not require a visa for Canadians to simply visit as a tourist, many will require students to obtain a study visa if they plan on attending university for an extended period of time. Some countries in Eastern Europe and other parts of the world require travellers to have a visa to simply enter the country, for any amount of time. The cost, length of time and documents required for a visa vary from country to country. To find out what is required to obtain a visa you must contact the country's Embassy or Consulate office in Canada. You can find these number using the Embassy Directory of Canada

You should begin the process of getting a visa as soon as possible. Often times, it can be a lengthy process. You should also find out what countries you want to visit will require a visa for you to enter if you a planning on travelling while abroad.

 Health Insurance

It is the student's responsibility to ensure that they are adequately covered by their health insurance. Sources to check include:
*MCP
*MUNSU
*Private Insurance

All students who are planning to rely on the MUNSU health plan must notify Jeff Hatcher in the MUNSU (737-7633) that they are planning to study abroad. All students opting out of the MUNSU health plan must notify the MUNSU no later than two weeks prior to departure.

Remember that although you are covered by MCP while abroad, MCP does not cover many overseas medical emergencies. In addition, MCP has a flat per day rate that they will cover for hospital or doctor visits, but these rates are quite low compared to what you could be charged.

Money and Banking

There are several different way you can arrange your finances while overseas. Often times, students will set up a new bank account in the country they will be studying in. This can often be done easily upon arrival to your destination. It is sometimes possible to transfer your funds directly from your Canadian account to your account overseas. However, you may have to take a bank draft with you for the amount of money you wish to deposit in your foreign account. It is a good idea to have some funds in travellers checks when you arrive in case there are immediate expenses that need to be dealt with.

It is also sometimes possible to simply keep use your account in Canada while abroad. Canadian bank cards can be used many in European automated bank machines and some students find it easier to simply withdraw money from their Canadian account. Bank machines often give you the best exchange rates. However, be sure you know your password in numbers – many machines overseas don?t have the alphabet on their keypads – and make sure you have some kind of back-up in case your card is swallowed.

Whatever you decide to do with your finances, you should discuss your plans with your bank first.

 Proof of Means of Support

In preparing to go overseas, it is often necessary to provide proof of means of support. Proof of means of support is often required in order to obtain a visa or be accepted to a partner institution.

You must obtain a letter from your bank stating that you will be able to support yourself for the entire duration of your stay overseas. The letter may include your balance, but normally a statement from a bank official sufficient.

ISIC - International Student Identity Card

An ISIC card is the most widely accepted form of student identification in the world. The card entitles full time students to many discounts while overseas on things such as train and airfare tickets as well as admission to museums and galleries. The card is absolutely free and is of great benefit to all students studying abroad.

To obtain an ISIC card, students should pick up and application form at TRAVEL CUTS, a student travel agency on campus. To obtain an ISIC card, students must complete an application form and submit it along with a passport size photo and proof of their full time student status.

Hostel Card

A hostel card allows you to stay at most youth hostels in Canada and overseas at discounted prices. A youth hostel is somewhere that offers basic and affordable accommodation for travellers, particularly young people. In many hostels you are required to provide your own bedding (a sleeping bag) or bed sheets. Hotels are sometimes an option, but frequently they are out of the price range for young travellers. Hostels are also good because they are a fantastic meeting place for students who are travelling. The card is valid for all hostels affiliated with the international organization Hostelling International.
A hostelling card is useful while overseas, particularly if you are planning on travelling while abroad.

Youth hostel membership cards are available from TRAVEL CUTS. A one year membership costs approximately $25 + HST; a two year membership is $35 + HST.

Air Travel

The best advice would be to shop around, although TRAVEL CUTS seems to have the best deals for full-time students.

To book a flight through TRAVEL CUTS, you must have an International Student Identity Card (ISIC).

Things to consider when booking a flight:

*cancellation insurance
*departure and return dates (tickets cost more if travel takes place during peak tourist seasons
*baggage number and weight limits - pack wisely
*seat sales (pay close attention to any and all restrictions)
*additional insurance
*aeroplan miles (if applicable)
*complete information is available from all travel agencies

Travel Overseas

Many students who spend time studying abroad end up travelling for different amounts of time. If you plan on travelling while you are away, a little planning can go along way in making sure you have an enjoyable and hassle free trip.

If you are travelling in Europe, there are countless discounts and special fares available for students and young people. Many students buy special bus or train passes that allow them disounted rates or unlimited travel for set periods of time. Some of these include:

*Eurail passes
*Interail
*Scanrail
*Eurostar and the Chunnel
*Rail Europe

If you plan on travelling for an extended period of time while overseas, you should consult a travel agent before you leave Canada to see what discounts are available to you. If you are planning on buying a rail pass you should remember that rail passes are usually cheaper if you buy them in Canada before you leave. If you can't afford one right away, you can have one purchased for you and sent to you while you are abroad. Eurail, the most popular rail pass for North Americans, cannot be purchased in Europe.

 Guidebooks

Before departing for your exchange destination, it is a good idea to buy a guidebook. A guidebook is a book with specific details on living and travelling in a specific country or region. They provide important general information on culture, history and politics as well provide you with very specific detail on accommodation, restaurants and places to eat, places of interest and transportation in your destination. Most guidebook companies offer books focussed on specific countries or regions. There are also several guidebooks that are aimed specifically at young people travelling on a tight budget. Go to the travel section of your local bookstore or follow these links:

It may also be useful to bring along an English/Foreign Language dictionary and a guide to common expressions in the language of the country where you will be staying.

Exchange Rates

To get the current exchange rate for the day, be it for a particular amount or a single currency unit, Onanda Inc offers a free service to determine the current exchange rate based on several rates, whether they be credit card rates, Interbank rates, or the typical cash rate. Click on the address below to visit their converter page.

 http://www.oanda.com/converter/classic

 Miscellaneous

The following links may be useful in preparing for your international exchange program: