It is important to acquire the proper passport and visa documentation and to understand the role of the Canadian government in case of an emergency. Students should be familiar with the college’s travel policies and procedures and the Durham College Code of Conduct. In order to prepare for the overseas experience, students should research local customs and the laws of the host country.
Keep the following 10 tips in mind when preparing for a safe journey abroad:
- Research the best way to get from the airport to the hotel and from the hotel back to airport.
- Make copies of all important documents and share with an emergency contact.
- Carry a flashlight, a travel health kit and locks.
- Notify the bank and credit card companies of your travel plans.
- Take some local currency and keep money in several secured places.
- Research your communication and internet options.
- Complete the Registration of Canadians Abroad form.
- Know the number and address of the local Canadian Embassy.
- Review the Durham College emergency travel guidelines and understand the coverage associated with your travel insurance.
- Know how to call the 24 hour Durham College Security Line (905.721.3211).
When travelling abroad, it is important for students to plan ahead for different modes of communication. Some countries will differ in how and where the internet can be accessed. Students should not assume that email and social media accounts can be accessed in other countries. It is good practice to plan for an effective form of communication that allows for friends and family to get in touch in case of an emergency.
Students travelling independently should remain in contact with the International Education Office throughout their study abroad program and notify the International Education Office of any changes in their itinerary during the trip.
Accessing money abroad
Before you travel abroad, it is good practice to notify your credit card companies and bank accounts. Otherwise, the bank may place a hold on bank accounts assuming that the activity that they see is fraudulent. It is good practice to visit a currency exchange vendor at least four weeks before travel, or you can exchange money in the country. Keep cash to a minimum but have about $100 Canadian dollar equivalency of local currency on hand at any time for emergencies and cash expenses.
Credit cards are widely accepted, though small businesses, especially restaurants, may not accept them.
Most bank cards with the + symbol are accepted worldwide but withdrawal fees apply. Also, take precaution when withdrawing cash in public, safeguard the pin number and keep an eye out for pickpockets.
Be an ambassador
Durham College students travelling outside of the province should understand the college’s Travel Policies and Procedures and adhere to the policies at all times during travel. Students may also be subject to the conditions and consequences of the Student Code of Conduct upon their return.
Responding to an emergency
Responding to an emergency overseas can be quite stressful. Situations may vary from a crime or a fire to an accident. When dealing with an emergency, there are key points to keep in mind:
- In an emergency situation, call the police or ambulance, the nearest embassy or consulate, the Durham College 24 Hour Campus Security lines or local connections as warranted by the situation.
- In preparation for your travels, students should also read and understand the Government of Canada Emergency Assistance procedures. This information is found at https://travel.gc.ca/assistance/emergency-assistance.
- Students should register their time abroad with the Canadian Government through Registration of Canadians Abroad, otherwise known as ROCA: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/registration. ROCA is a free service that allows the Government of Canada to notify you in case of an emergency abroad or a personal emergency at home. The service also enables you to receive important information before or during a natural disaster or civil unrest.
- In order to request emergency assistance from the Canadian government email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the nearest embassy or consulate or phone +1.613.996.8885. This information can also be found on the Emergency Abroad wallet cards provided by the International Office. It is also critical to know the contact information for the closest consular services and the closest available Canadian Embassy (in some areas Australian and Swedish offices provide consular services to Canadians). Information can be found here https://travel.gc.ca/assistance/embassies-consulates.
- International students should register their time abroad with their consulate before travelling.