Preparing to Leave

Health & Travel Insurance
Money
Accommodations
Telephones
Security
Adapting to other Cultures
Embassies / Consulates in Canada
Canadian Embassies / Consulates Away


Health & Travel Insurance

  • It is your responsibility to ensure that you have valid accident and health insurance. Check with your provider to see that you are appropriately covered.
  • You should contact MCP to tell them how long you will be out of the province and request out-of-province coverage. They can be reached at 1-800-563-1557. Please note: additional health insurance is still necessary. MCP will only cover base amounts and it alone will not provide you sufficient coverage.
  • If you require any special medication, take enough with you to last the whole trip. You should take it in the orginal packaging and should accompany a letter from your doctor.
  • Medical and dental checks are highly recommended prior to departure.

Money

  • Ask your bank what currency you will require. It is a good idea to convert some of your money to the currency you need before you depart. You should have enough cash to last you at least 2 days in your host country. Sometimes your bank may have to order the currency, which can take up to 10 business days.
  • Visa and Mastercard are universally accepted.
  • Bank debit cards are not universally accepted and do not usually work for payment at checkouts.
  • Depending on your own banking arrangements, bank cards normally function at ATMs. Check with your local bank to see if there are banks/ATMs you can avail of while overseas.
  • With a Visa or Mastercard and an appropriate bank card, it may not be necessary to open an overseas bank account. If you chose this option, ask about withdrawal fees as they can be high.
  • Opening a bank account in other countries is not necessarily as easy as it is at home. Sometimes a letter of reference is needed from your employer.
  • If you are paid by direct deposit, a bank account will be necessary. It is also advisable if you are paid by cheque or cash, as you will need to make deposits. Ask your bank prior to departure for the best advice.
  • You should advise your personal bank and credit card provider(s) that you will be travelling overseas for an extended period of time to ensure there are no holds placed on your accounts.

Accommodations

  • It is recommended that you do not travel until accommodation arrangements are made and finalized.
  • In employer-arranged accommodation, even if you are paying for it, there is a joint responsibility between you and your employer. You should therefore conduct yourself in a manner that will not generate complaints from your landlord to the employer. Regardless of whether such complaints are justified, they almost always impair student-employer-university relationships.
  • Should you find your employer-arranged accommodation unsuitable, you should consult with your employer before making any changes in the arrangements.
  • Accommodation standards for students may be different than Canada. A common arrangement is a private room with shared facilities; space will likely be less than that to which you are accustomed to at home. You should, however, expect your accommodation to be basically furnished and clean upon arrival. Leave it that way when you vacate it! Acceptance of future students in that accommodation may depend on it!
  • Public transport such as buses, trains, and subways are a common mode of transport for commuting long distances to work.
  • Investigate rail passes. They are usually far cheaper than purchasing individual tickets.
  • If traveling out of the country in which you are working, you MUST take your work permit or authorization, and passport, with you. You will be asked to show it upon re-entry.
  • Make sure that you have contact information should your travel arrangements become disrupted.
  • Should your scheduled arrival be over a weekend, then make sure you have appropriate home and/or mobile (cell) phone numbers.
  • It is suggested that you plan to arrive on a week day during normal business working hours as this may ease the process of getting a hold of your employer if needed.
  • Upon arrival, You will have to pass through local immigration (passport control), and then customs. After picking up your bags, proceed to the EXIT signs. Normally, proceed past the green signs unless challenged by a customs officer in which case you may be directed to the RED signs.
  • If finding your own way to your employer or employer's city, taxis are extremely expensive. There are bus and train connections from most airports.

Telephones

  • Often the cheapest way to call home is to buy a long distance phone card available at most news stands, pharmacies and convenience stores.
  • Using "Canada Direct" may be more convenient when you first arrive but is probably more expensive in the long run. Contact your local service provider for access numbers from different countries. You can charge calls to your home telephone or credit card from your own telephone company.
  • Cell phones are very useful as not all student accommodations, hostels, etc. are necessarily equipped with a phone. Contact your cell phone company to see if your cell phone will work in the area you are traveling.
  • If your cell phone will not work in your area of travel, it is recommended that you obtain a "pay as you go" phone in the country you will be staying.

Security

  • Be constantly on guard! Other places may not be as "innocent" as St. John's!
  • Do not carry around large amounts of cash.
  • During the night and in many city centers, keeping in groups of two or more is highly recommended. Check out questionable areas with police or travel information kiosks and offices.
  • Keep valuables such as passports, cash and credit cards in pockets which can be sealer (zipped or buttoned) or in appropriate accessories that can be strapped to you (like a money belt).
  • Do not leave baggage out of sight or unattended. Petty theft is more likely than in Newfoundland. In airports and other public places, security personnel immediately seize unattended bags.

Adapting to other Cultures

  • The success of your work term depends on how quickly you can adapt to your new cultural surroundings.
  • Cultural differences vary greatly, depending on the country.
  • A good policy is, "When in Rome, do as Romans do." Simple manners such as greeting people, shaking hands and addressing co-workers and supervisors are all important. Study these before you travel and be prepared!
  • A "faux pax" might be excusable in the beginning, but people expect you to catch on quickly.
  • Language can be a barrier if you let it. Avoid a tendency to isolate yourself from co-workers socially or professionally because you do not understand their language. You do not need to learn a foreign language, but it certainly helps to learn some basic phrases such as "How do I find...", "please", "thank you" etc.
  • You earn respect if you are visibly making an effort to integrate yourself into the culture.

Embassies / Consulates in Canada

Canadian Embassies / Consulates Away

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