Pre-departure orientation

One of the most important parts of your educational journey abroad is preparation. In this section, we offer helpful hints and advice on how to make sure your travel experience is a great one.

Learn more about....

Health & Safety, Travel & Accommodation, Packing, Money

Required Pre-Departure Documents & Orientation

Every Douglas College student that travels internationally (regardless of the program) must submit the below documentation (electronically as a PDF) to Douglas College International before departure.  Submitting the following information to Douglas College International, prior to departure, is mandatory (no exceptions): 

  1. completed Emergency Contact form; 
  2. completed Release of Liability form; 
  3. completed Photo, Video & Information Release Form;
  4. copy of your valid passport (passports must be valid for at least 6 months after your scheduled return date);
  5. proof of travel medical insurance coverage (copy of both your travel coverage declaration showing the coverage period and claims reporting details) (learn more about Travel Insurance from Travel Canada);
  6. copy of flight itinerary;
  7. the address and contact information for where you will be staying abroad,
  8. contact information for your host institution / placement organization, if applicable;
  9. copy of your Acceptance to the study abroad activity / program.

Students are also required to attend a Pre-Departure Orientation session to review important travel, safety and emergency information and procedures.  

Before you leave Canada, check Government of Canada's Travel website for travel warnings and advisories.  Also, register yourself with Travel Canada and make note of the phone number and address for the Canadian Embassy and Canadian Consulate in the country(ies) you are travelling to.  This could prove valuable if you lose your passport, identification or find yourself in need of government assistance. 

Contact if you have any questions and for details on the Pre-Departure orientation session.



Your passport is your most important travel document – you need it to get into other countries and to get back into Canada. Don’t have one? Visit Passport Canada to find out how to apply (and more!).

Keep your passport safe! If it is lost, you’ll need to inform the local authorities as well as the closest Canadian Government Office abroad, but the worst thing is that you won’t be able to travel without it.

Here’s what we recommend:

  • make two copies of the ID page of your passport, your birth certificate (or Canadian citizenship card)
  • keep your copies in a separate spot from your passport
  • leave a set of copies with someone you trust in Canada
  • keep the link to the Canadian Government Offices Abroad handy in case you need help while you’re away

Student visa

You might also need a student visa, particularly if you’ll be away for longer than six months. Some countries want you to have a visa before you leave Canada, while others let you buy one once you enter their country. Basically, you’ll have to do a little research before you leave. Here’s what you need to figure out:

  • do you need a visa for the countries you’ll be visiting?
  • where do you get the visa (in Canada or in the other country)?
  • how much will it cost?

If you’re part of a field school you probably won’t need a student visa, although this isn’t always the case.

Visas will usually not be issued if your passport is within six months of expiring. Even if you have a valid passport, ensure it expires six months after you intend to return to Canada.

Canada Customs

If you are taking valuables or expensive electronic equipment abroad, take the time to register these items with Canada customs before you leave so they are not subject to duty when you return.

More information about certificates, duty, and other border services and requirements are on the Canada Border Services website.

Personal documents

A few recommendations on personal documents while you are studying abroad:

  • Think about giving a friend or relative your power of attorney as well as writing a will to handle any legal matters arising while you are away.
  • If you want to drive while studying abroad, consider applying for an International drivers license, which will eliminate some logistical headaches, as not every country will accept your Canadian license. International drivers’ licenses are available through BCAA.
  • Also bring copies of your medical records and prescription diagnoses (depending on your length of time abroad) so a doctor in your new country can fill them for you if needed. If you wear glasses, bringing a second pair or your vision prescription is also a good rule of thumb.