Preparing to Go

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					              Preparing to Go
 A Guide for Group, Term and Taught Abroad Programs

Global Commons
     A World of Opportunity…Get Involved
                                                       COntents                                                                             3. Health and Wellness
                                                                                                                                              3.1 Before You Go ...........................................................................................32
1. Overview                                                                                                                                            3.1.1 Health Insurance ..........................................................................................32

  1.1 Introduction to the Preparing to Go Guide .............................................4                                                         3.1.2 Medical Examinations .................................................................................33
                                                                                                                                                       3.1.4 Dental Considerations ..................................................................................35
  1.2 Student Rights and Responsibilities ..........................................................5
                                                                                                                                                       3.1.5 Copies of Medical Records and Prescriptions............................................35
            1.2.2 Representing the U of S ................................................................................5
                                                                                                                                                       3.1.6 Glasses and Contact Lenses .......................................................................35
            1.2.3 The Big Picture: Table of Responsibilities ....................................................6
                                                                                                                                                       3.1.7 First Aid Kit ....................................................................................................36
  1.3 Program Timelines ......................................................................................8
                                                                                                                                              3.2 While you are Abroad ...............................................................................36
  1.4 Pre-Departure Checklist ...........................................................................10
                                                                                                                                                       3.2.1 Minimize Risk, Maximize Safety ..................................................................37
                                                                                                                                                       3.2.2 Basic Wellness ...............................................................................................42
2. Travel and Finances
                                                                                                                                              3.3 Coming Home ...........................................................................................45
  2.1 Arranging Travel .......................................................................................12
            2.1.1 Passport ........................................................................................................12
                                                                                                                                            4. Adapting to a New Culture
            2.1.2 Student or Travel/Tourist Visa .....................................................................13
                                                                                                                                              4.1 Culture and Cultural Difference ..............................................................46
            2.1.4 Working Visa..................................................................................................14
            2.1.5 Dual Citizenship ...........................................................................................14              4.2 Preparing for the Host Culture ................................................................47
            2.1.6 Arranging Transportation ............................................................................15                     4.3 Tips on fitting in: Cross Cultural Communication ...................................53
            2.1.7 Arranging Accommodations........................................................................16
            2.1.8 Tips for Travel Day .......................................................................................17
                                                                                                                                            5. Returning Home (re-entry)
  2.2 Other Important Paperwork ....................................................................17                                        5.1 Re-Entry Culture Shock .............................................................................56
            2.2.1 Canadian Customs Certificates ...................................................................18                         5.2 Dealing With Re-Entry Culture Shock .....................................................57
            2.2.2 Power of Attorney ........................................................................................18
            2.2.3 Will ................................................................................................................18
            2.2.4 International Student Identity Card (ISIC) ...................................................18
            2.2.5 International Driver’s Permit .........................................................................19
            2.2.6 Passport Photographs .................................................................................19
            2.2.7 Duplication of Documents ..........................................................................19
            2.2.8 Voting in Canadian Elections .......................................................................19
            2.3.2 U of S Tuition and Study Abroad Program Fees ........................................21
            2.3.3 Funding Your Study Abroad Program ........................................................21
            2.3.4 Banking .........................................................................................................24
            2.3.5 Credit Cards .................................................................................................24
            2.3.6 ATM Cards .....................................................................................................24
            2.3.8 Emergency Funds ........................................................................................25

  2.4 Packing ........................................................................................................25
                           ChApter 1                              1.2 Student Rights and Responsibilities
                                                                  Beyond doing the necessary preparation work for your
                                                                  overseas experience, you have a broad set of rights and
                                                                                                                                       This Spring I had
                                                                  responsibilities as a U of S student.
                                                                                                                                      the opportunity to
    1.1 Introduction to the Preparing to                                                                                              do something most
                                                                  1.2.1 Harassment
    Go Guide                                                                                                                          university students
                                                                  Sexual harassment is uninvited and unwanted sexual
                                                                                                                                    want to do, but never
    Congratulations on your upcoming study abroad experience!     attention given by a person who knows or should know                end up doing. No,
    This Preparing to Go Guide is intended to provide you         that it is unwelcome. Similarly, individuals are sometimes           I haven’t found a
                                                                  harassed on the basis of their ethnicity, skin colour,             way to get a parking
    with an overview of the issues you need to consider
                                                                  sexual orientation, age and/or size. While the U of S               spot on campus, I
    before, during and after your study abroad program.                                                                              did something much
                                                                  attempts to ensure that its students are not placed
    Depending upon your program, you could be responsible                                                                            better: the Intensive
                                                                  where racism, homophobia, sexism and/or other systems             Russian Program in St.
    for organizing any number of program elements
                                                                  of prejudice are common, these may be an issue in                   Petersburg, Russia.
    including: finances, academic registration, transportation,
                                                                  some host countries. Please prepare for your travels                     former U of S
    passport and visa, travel and medical insurance, packing
                                                                  by thoroughly researching the host country to have a              Term Abroad Student
    and preparing for your individual needs and requirements
                                                                  better understanding of its culture and how its societal
    overseas. The Program Coordinator will notify you about
                                                                  norms may impact you. If, while abroad, you find yourself
    your preparation responsibilities and those of the study
                                                                  in an uncomfortable situation involving some form of
    abroad program.                                               harassment, please notify the Program Coordinator for

    To help you organize yourself, this guide provides            possible guidance and assistance.

    general information on most of these issues as well as
                                                                  1.2.2 Representing the U of S
    a summary of preparation requirements using a Table
                                                                  You are considered a U of S student while on a study abroad
    of Responsibilities, a Preparation Timeline and a Pre
                                                                  program. This means that not only do you have the rights
    Departure Checklist. These last three documents are           and responsibilities associated with this status - for instance
    generalized overview documents and are located at the         U of S tuition fees instead of those of an international
    end of this section; they may not be entirely relevant to     student - you are also acting as an ambassador. Further, you
    your program in that they are missing program-specific        represent Saskatchewan and Canada when travelling as a
    details. Supporting information will be found in the          Canadian student. This is no easy task. You must abide by
    different sections of this guide. Please keep in mind that    the U of S’s and any partner institutions’ rules, as well as
    each study abroad experience is different. Not only will      the regulations and the laws of both Canada and the host
    you have to adapt this guide to meet your individual          country. Remember the following:

    needs, you will also have to do other research on your          • If you are involved in an illegal activity while abroad,
    own (eg. gathering information on the host country).              you will be subject to the host country’s judicial
    You will also be responsible for the program-specific             system; the Canadian government may be able to do
    preparations not included in this guide.                          little to help you.

4                                                                                                                                                          5
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    disciplinary procedures of the U of S.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • If you are accused of academic dishonesty,

                                                                                                         detailed information on each individual element.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        study abroad programs. Sections Two – Five of this
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             remember, the level of applicability will vary between
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  threatening or harassing behaviour or other forms
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             of academic misconduct, you will be subject to the

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Its purpose is to provide you with the “big picture” but
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It may be overwhelming when you first begin organizing

                                                                                                                                                            guide will help you put it all together by providing more
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              your study abroad program. The following table outlines
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 general academic, financial and personal responsibilities.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 1.2.3 The Big Picture: Table of Responsibilities

    Academic Responsibilities                           Financial Responsibilities                                                                                  Personal Responsibilities
    (Section Two)                                       (Section Three)                                                                                             (Sections Four, Five and Six)

    • Maintain necessary average for participation in   • Create living budget that includes following                                                              (Note: The following are program dependent.
      study abroad program                                expenses                                                                                                  Speak to Program Coordinator about your health
                                                            · tuition                                                                                               and medical preparation, travel coordination, and
    • Complete and submit all academic paperwork
                                                            · immigration                                                                                           your visa responsibilities and those of the study
      for study abroad program ON TIME (Note:
                                                            · health insurance                                                                                      abroad program)
      The Program Coordinator will provide program
                                                            · transportation
      specific information)                                                                                                                                         • Health and medical preparations (incl. researching
                                                            · accommodations
                                                                                                                                                                      host country, immunizations, arranging health
    • Select and register for study abroad courses          · living expenses
                                                                                                                                                                      insurance etc.)
      and supplementary courses where applicable
                                                        • Organize funding of Study Abroad program
                                                                                                                                                                    • Travel Coordination (incl. passport, visas, flight,
    • Know deadlines and penalties for tuition
                                                                                                                                                                      in-country transportation)
      payment and program withdrawal
    • Know the procedures and deadlines for
    1.3 Program Timelines                                                             One to two        • exchange approximately $100 CAD into foreign
                                                                                      weeks prior         currency. (Note: check with your bank in advance to
    In keeping with the “big picture” theme introduced earlier,                       to departure        ensure that they will have the currency you require).

    this section details many of the things you need to do before                                       • photocopy two sets copies of the following: your
                                                                                                          passport, visa, travel documents, traveller’s cheques
    you go, while you are abroad and when you return. More                                                and credit cards. Give a copy to a responsible family
                                                                                                          member or friend in case these documents are lost
    detailed information on each of these steps is available                                              or stolen while you are away. Keep a copy with you as
    elsewhere in the guide. Remember to add program specific                                              well, but not with the original documents.
                                                                                                        • make sure you have a list of important contact
    details to this timeline to ensure you have a complete timeline
                                                                                                          information (eg Program Coordinator, Canadian
    that includes ALL necessary preparations.                                                             Embassy, U of S, family and friends, health insurance
                                                                                                          provider, bank, etc.)

    Before You Go!                                                                                      • consult
                                                                                                          for current issues in the area. Be aware: conditions and
    Immediately      • sign up for the Pre Departure Orientation session(s) you                           circumstances can change at any time.
                       are required to attend before departure
                                                                                                        • make sure you have paid tuition.
                     • obtain a passport and, if required, the appropriate visa
                       (See Section Two: Travel and Finances)                                           • review your lists of things to do etc. and make sure you
                                                                                                          are organized.
                     • ensure you have a comprehensive medical insurance
                       policy and/or obtain an international travel insurance                           • make sure you have a plan of arrival – if it’s up to you,
                       policy with adequate coverage (this includes medical                               how will you get from the airport to accommodations,
                       assistance while overseas, evacuation and repatriation).                           etc.
                       See Section Three: Health and Wellness for details.
                     • consult your financial institution to ensure you
                       understand your banking options and confirm your
                       access to funds while overseas. (See Section Two: Travel       When You Arrive!
                       and Finances)
                     • develop your living budget (See Section Two: Travel and        Upon arrival at       • contact family, friends so that they know you
                                                                                      the destination         arrived
                     • if applicable, arrange travel to the destination country.
                                                                                      country/ Host         • ensure you know where to go for medical
                                                                                      Institution             assistance, banking, general assistance.
                     • research the destination country (i.e. follow current
                       events, obtain a guide book etc)                                                     • attend any relevant orientations, information
                                                                                                              sessions, welcomes etc.
                     • consult
                       on a regular basis to stay informed of issues in the area                            • register on the FAC website (if
                       you will be visiting.                                                                  you did not do so before departure)

    Four to six   • if pre-arranged, ensure you have details about
    weeks prior to accommodations
    departure     • contact Travel Cuts for an International Student Identity         Coming Home!
                                                                                                            • Re-read “Section Five: Re-entry” of the Preparing
                     • make a list of ‘things to do’, ‘things to get’, ‘outstanding                           to Go Guide
                       questions’ and ‘things to pack’ - you do not want to
                       leave something to the last minute.
                     • gather a number of small gifts, pins, etc. to present to
                       individuals who become good friends or provide you
                       with support and assistance.

8                                                                                                                                                                     9
     1.4 Pre-Departure Checklist                                            ❑ designated a Power of Attorney and made other banking arrangements
                                                                              for duration of study abroad program
     The following checklist is a starting point to help you organize       ❑ know how to transfer funds from Canada to a financial institution in the
                                                                              host country
     your pre-departure activities. Please read through each section
                                                                            ❑ organized traveller’s cheques
     of the Preparing to Go Guide that addresses these activities in
                                                                            ❑ arranged for credit card(s) and/or bank card(s) to access ATMs with PIN
     more depth. Remember, all boxes should be checked by the
                                                                            ❑ arranged emergency funds and means of accessing them
     time you leave for your term or taught abroad program!

     Academic Arrangements
                                                                            Health and Wellness Arrangements
     ❑ received, read and understood all academic arrangements
       associated with my study abroad program (Note: This information      ❑ read “Section Three: Health and Wellness” of Preparing to Go
       should be provided by Program Coordinator)                             Guide
                                                                            ❑ researched health and safety issues for host country
     ❑ completed required academic paper work (Note: This information
       should be provided by Program Coordinator)                           ❑ arranged health insurance – basic provincial
                                                                            ❑ arranged health insurance – extended medical
     ❑ maintained the required academic average for study abroad
       program (if applicable)                                              ❑ arranged health insurance – emergency medical
                                                                            ❑ had a medical examination
     ❑ know deadlines and penalties for tuition payment and program
       withdrawal                                                           ❑ got appropriate immunizations and prophylaxis (ex. malaria)

     ❑ know the procedures and deadlines for transferring credit            ❑ had dental check up
                                                                            ❑ copied medical records and prescriptions
     ❑ know the procedures and deadlines for convocation
                                                                            ❑ acquired supplementary eye-ware (glasses and/or contact lenses)
                                                                              and prescriptions
     Important Travel Documents
                                                                            ❑ made a first aid kit
     ❑ read “Section Two: Travel and Finances” of Preparing to Go Guide
                                                                            ❑ know U of S travel policy
     ❑ organized valid passport                                             ❑ input my personal information into Risk Management Database
     ❑ organized valid visa (if applicable)                                 ❑ contacted Consular Affairs
     ❑ arranged for Canadian Customs Certificates (if applicable)           ❑ Other _______________________________________________

     ❑ arranged a valid Will
     ❑ acquired an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) (if applicable)      Personal Arrangements
     ❑ acquired International Student Identity Card (ISIC)                  ❑ read “Section Four: Adapting to a New Culture” and “Section
                                                                              Five: Re-entry” in Preparing to Go Guide
     ❑ copied important documents and left a copy with a friend or family
                                                                            ❑ attended a Pre Departure Orientation (PDO)
       member in Canada
                                                                            ❑ submitted all necessary paperwork to the Program Coordinator
                                                                              and/or Global Commons
     Travel and Financial Arrangements
     ❑ read “Section Two: Travel and Finances” of Preparing to Go
     ❑ organized funding of study abroad experience
          ❍ scholarships
           ❍ student loans
           ❍ other ___________________________________________
     ❑ researched program expenses and made a living budget
     ❑ arranged transportation (if applicable)
     ❑ arranged first day arrival (if applicable)
     ❑ arranged accommodations (if applicable)
     ❑ paid U of S tuition and Study Abroad program fees

10                                                                                                                                                       11
                                                 ChApter 2                              your complete application (including fee) to the national
                                                                                        office in Ottawa. On average, processing takes between

                         Travel and Finances                                            two and six weeks.

                                                                                        Apply for your passport as soon as possible. Over the
                         Preparing for travel and organizing your finances will
                                                                                        last couple of years, the passport application process has
                         require a lot of early and dedicated preparation,
                                                                                        become more complicated and rigorous. As part of the
                         particularly if you are trying to stretch your money to
                                                                                        process you are required to have photographs of yourself
                         include excursions around the host country and
                                                                                        authenticated and to provide references who may be
                         elsewhere in the region. This section will outline the steps

                                                                                        contacted by the government. These authentication
                         that are necessary to get you onto a plane and overseas,
                                                                                        and approval processes sometimes take longer than the
                         and to make sure you can afford it!
                                                                                        expected average and you must obtain your passport
                                                                                        before you can acquire a visa – also a potentially lengthy   For more information on
                         2.1 Arranging Travel                                           process.                                                      the visa requirements
                                                                                                                                                      of the host country to
                         Travel arrangements differ between study abroad                                                                             which you are traveling,
                                                                                        2.1.2 Student or Travel/Tourist Visa
                         programs. In some cases each student is responsible for                                                                       go to
                                                                                        Depending upon your program, you will likely require (the Department
                         organizing his or her own travel; in other cases, these
                                                                                        either a student visa or entry visa (sometimes called         of Foreign Affairs and
                         arrangements are made by a Program Coordinator or                                                                             International Trade)
                                                                                        a tourist visa) to visit the host country. A student visa
                         third party. Regardless of who coordinates the airline
                                                                                        is a document issued by the host country that grants
                         ticket, you will be responsible for organizing some            you permission to live there as a student. An entry or
                         components of your travel. At a minimum you will be            tourist visa is a document issued by the host country
                         required to arrange for a valid passport. You could also       that grants you permission to travel there. Both types of

                         be responsible for arranging a visa, transportation to         visa are issued for specific periods of time that must be

                         the host country and/or accommodations. This section           respected. It is likely that your Program Coordinator will
                         outlines the paperwork and financial preparations              provide information on arranging for the appropriate visa.
                         necessary for successful travel. It will be up to the          He or she may even make these arrangements for you. If
 If you look like your   Program Coordinator of your study abroad experience to         not, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International
passport photo, you’re   clarify which of these responsibilities fall to you.           Trade ( has links to foreign embassies
    too ill to travel.                                                                  and consulates to help you research visa requirements.
                         2.1.1 Passport
         Will Kommen
                         A passport is required for all international travel. A         Be aware: in some cases, you may need to provide other

                         Canadian passport is valid for five years from the date of     documents as part of the visa application process, for

                         issue and must be valid for at least six months following      instance proof of financial support, health insurance,

                         your return to Canada. Passport applications can be            medical records, criminal records check, and/or a birth

                         downloaded from the Passport Canada website (www.              certificate.

                or picked up at the Passport Canada office in       Depending upon the country, your visa could take several
                         downtown Saskatoon (Suite 405, 101-22nd Street East).          months to process. If you are responsible for organizing
                         This office accepts applications in person or you can mail     your visa, do not leave immigration matters to the last

12                                                                                                                                                                        13
     minute. In some circumstances this process can take up          Where permitted by laws of the country in question, the
     to 12 weeks, and that’s assuming you already have your          Government of Canada encourages Canadians to use their
     passport!                                                       Canadian passport while traveling abroad and to present
                                                                     themselves as Canadians to foreign authorities. This is not
     2.1.3 Multiple Entry Visa
                                                                     an argument to travel without a second passport, but be
     If you plan to travel outside the host country after your
                                                                     aware that individuals travelling with two passports are
     study abroad experience, you should look into applying
                                                                     often subject to increased scrutiny by immigration and
     for a multiple-entry visa before you leave Canada. This
                                                                     security officials. This may include questions about your
     could save you time and money when abroad as there
                                                                     reasons for travelling with two passports and/or questions
     may be restrictions or delays if you have to apply for visa     about missing entry or exit stamps (because they are
     papers in a country other than Canada.                          distributed between two different documents). In some
                                                                     countries, possession of a second passport could result
     2.1.4 Working Visa
                                                                     in its confiscation or a fine. In extreme cases you may be
     If you plan to work during or after your study abroad
                                                                     prevented from leaving the country or re-entering it.
     experience, check with the host country’s consulate or
     embassy to find out about your eligibility to work and          In general, it is a good rule of thumb to enter and
     any related visa requirements. Some countries prohibit          exit a country on the same passport. If possible, use a
     international students from working while on a student visa.    Canadian passport.

                                                                     For detailed information on the subject of dual citizenship
     2.1.5 Dual Citizenship
                                                                     refer to the booklet published by the Department of
     Dual citizenship occurs when a person is the citizen of
                                                                     Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Dual Citizenship:
     more than one country. This is permitted under Canadian
                                                                     What Travellers Should Know (
     law but dual citizenship is not legally recognized in
     all countries. This can lead to serious difficulties for
     Canadians when they are in the country of their second          2.1.6 Arranging Transportation
     citizenship. It can also create problems in third countries     If you are responsible for arranging your own
     if there is any confusion over what citizenship was used to     transportation, remember to make sure that your travel
     obtain entry.                                                   documentation (passport and visa if required) is in place

     If you hold dual citizenship, make sure you have informed       before making these arrangements. Also, see section

     yourself about the host country’s position on dual              2.2.4 for information on the International Student

     citizenship – particularly if you or your parents hold, or      Identity Card (ISIC) as it may help you to negotiate a less

     once held, citizenship in the host country. There have been     expensive fare.

     instances of Canadians travelling to countries of their birth   Buying Your Ticket
     (or their parents’ birth) and discovering that they hold        If there is flexibility around your departure date, try to
     dual citizenship. Usually this is a nice surprise, but it can   arrive in the host country a couple days early to give you
     have serious, unwanted repercussions. For instance, host        some time to adjust before your study experience begins.
     nationals of some countries are required to do military         It is a good idea to arrange to arrive during weekday
     service or pay special taxes.                                   business hours, when taxis, banks and other services

14                                                                                                                                 15
                           are available. Conversely, try not to arrive on a national      2.1.8 Tips for Travel Day
                           holiday or on a weekend when businesses and services            Travel Day is usually an exciting but stressful day. To
                           are more likely to be closed.                                   minimize this stress, here are some tips to keep in mind

                           Shop around when buying your ticket: get price quotes           while you are in transit.

                           from three to five travel agents and look for deals online        • Dress respectably, but comfortably. This could help

                           (while keeping in mind the legitimacy of the websites).             you with immigration, and airlines are sometimes

                           You will be surprised how much ticket prices vary! If you           more inclined to ‘bump’ well-dressed individuals to

                           can afford to, purchase a flexible ticket (meaning the              first class should an opening become available.

                           return date is open-ended). If you cannot afford this, try        • Ensure that you have organized and are traveling
                           to purchase from an airline with moderate change fees or            with the appropriate paperwork for customs and

                           penalties. This will make it easier for you to change your          immigration, including your passport, visa and
                           ticket should you need to in the future. It seems obvious,          supporting documentation specific to the host
                           but mistakes can happen. When you receive your ticket               country. For instance, some countries may demand
If the stated objective
                           or itinerary, make sure you check that all the ticket details       proof that you have enough money to support
of a liberal education
  remains ‘a broader       are correct. It is easier (and less expensive) to correct           yourself during your stay. Others will only allow you
 understanding of the      mistakes two months before your departure than on your              to enter if you can prove that you intend to depart
  world,’ then I only      fly-date.                                                           (i.e. you have purchased return airfare). You should
   wonder how it is                                                                            have researched this as part of the visa requirements.
even possible without      Baggage Restrictions
 the travel and cross-     Airlines are becoming increasingly strict about weight            • Make sure you know the arrangements for your first
 cultural contact that     limits and carry-on luggage restrictions. Some airlines             night’s accommodations. This could mean you know
 exchanges and study                                                                           how to access your permanent, in-country residence
                           limit travelers to 20 kg of baggage, and some countries
   abroad programs
                           (particularly island nations) restrict the kinds of goods           or that you have booked a hotel or hostel room that
                           you can import. Be sure to find out how much the airline            night. If you are separated from travel mates, or you
     former U of S Study
                           charges for excess baggage as well as any content                   arrive later than expected, you want to know that
         Abroad Student
                           restrictions. This could significantly influence the cost           these arrangements have already been made.

                           of your airline ticket. Also, international airports and          • Check your guidebook to find out about any airport
                           airlines are constantly updating their security measures.           scams that might be going on. For instance some
                           This could impact what you can and cannot carry                     taxi drivers will overcharge perceived tourists and/or
                           onboard when it comes to your departure. Make sure                  take them to expensive hotels from which the driver
                           that you inform yourself about current restrictions when            receives a commission.
                           purchasing your ticket, and again within days of your
                           departure. Then, pack accordingly!                              2.2 Other Important Paperwork
                           2.1.7 Arranging Accommodations                                  You could not travel without organizing a passport and
                           Consult your Program Coordinator for information                visa. However there are other important, yet not as
                           about arranging accommodations for your study abroad            obvious, personal documents to consider when going
                           experience                                                      abroad. This section outlines some of the other important

16                                                                                                                                                      17
                             documents and paperwork preparations of organized                 2.2.5 International Driver’s Permit
                             travellers.                                                       Apply for an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) if you
                                                                                               are planning to drive while overseas. An IDP allows
                             2.2.1 Canadian Customs Certificates
                                                                                               you to drive in most countries outside of Canada but
                             Canadian Customs Certificates are documents that
                                                                                               it is important that you double check this for your host
                             identify any personal valuables (with serial numbers) that
                                                                                               country. To be valid an IDP must be accompanied by a
                             you are taking abroad. These forms must be completed              current Canadian driver’s license. For more information
                             and returned to Canada Customs before you leave as
                             proof of prior ownership when you return. You can register
                             your camera, computer, jewellery and other valuables
                                                                                               about acquiring an IDP and its uses, see the Department
                                                                                               of Foreign Affairs and International Trade website at
                                                                                                                                                              Most countries will
                             before you leave so that you will not be required to pay          driving-en.asp#5.
                                                                                                                                                            require that you apply
                             duty on these items upon your return to Canada.

                                                                                                                                                              for a local driver’s
                                                                                               2.2.6 Passport Photographs
                                                                                                                                                                license within a
                             2.2.2 Power of Attorney                                           It is always a good idea to travel with several extra        certain time-period of
                             It is recommended that you assign power of attorney to            passport-sized photographs. These can be used for last      residency so make sure
    For information
                             someone that you trust before you depart. This person             minute visas, replacing the photo component of lost          your anticipated time
on locating a customs
                                                                                                                                                             in-country does not
office in your area, visit   can act on your behalf while you are out of the country           documents, and even for identification purposes while
                                                                                                                                                            exceed this residency         and monitor your local banking and/or issues arising              you are away
                             from a scholarship, student loan etc. The granting of this
                                                                                               2.2.7 Duplication of Documents
                             power is simple: the co-signing of a form at your bank.
                                                                                               It is also prudent to make copies of valuable documents.
                             2.2.3 Will                                                        Travel with one set that is packed separate from the
                             In consideration of family members, ensure that you               originals and leave a second set in the safekeeping of
                             have created a will that is in good order. In the extremely       a friend or family member. Documents that should be
                             unlikely event of a tragedy, the Canadian embassy/                copied include your birth certificate, your passport,
                             consulate will contact your family and help to make the           your student visa, travellers’ cheques and any other
                             required arrangements.                                            documentation that you think is important and/or would
                                                                                               be difficult to replace if lost.
                             2.2.4 International Student Identity Card (ISIC)
                             The International Student Identify Card (ISIC) is a widely        2.2.8 Voting in Canadian Elections
                             accepted proof of student status. It can save you money           It is possible for Canadians who are overseas to vote in
                             while you are overseas! For instance, it will entitle you to      federal elections. Before you leave, contact Elections
                             discounts at some restaurants, theatres, shops, etc and           Canada via their website (
                             ISIC holders are also eligible for reduced travel fares in        content.asp?section=ins&document=index&dir=ire&lang
                             several countries. Once you have the card, get into the           =e&textonly=false) and provide them with your overseas
                             habit of asking for student discounts - even for travel tickets   address. Should an election be called while you are
                             (including trains, planes and automobiles). You can apply for     overseas, Elections Canada will notify you by mail of the
                             an ISIC through Travel Cuts in Lower Place Riel.                  procedure by which you may vote.

18                                                                                                                                                                             19
     ‘‘‚‚                 2.3 Financial Matters                                        Column D (Variance) in the Budget Framework will help

                                                                                       you track your actual expenses (column C) compared

                          Many students find financial planning to be the most
                                                                                       to those you projected (or guessed at (column B). By
                          stressful part of preparing for a study abroad experience.
Money, money, money.                                                                   subtracting your actual expenses from your anticipated
 Must be funny. In a      You may have started to think about this during the
                                                                                       expenses, the variance will indicate whether you have
  rich man’s world.       application process…now you need to think harder!                                                                           We didn’t actually
                                                                                       more or less money than you projected. For instance, if
                  ABBA    This section will provide some tools to help you sort                                                                      overspend our budget.
                                                                                       you projected an airfare of $1200 but got a great flight
                          through your money matters. But the best piece of advice                                                                   The allocation simply
                                                                                       for $800, your variance is +$400. You have $400 more
                          we can give you is: if you haven’t started already, start                                                                     fell short of our
                                                                                       than you were expecting. Conversely if you anticipated             expenditure.
                          planning (and saving) now!
                                                                                       that travel insurance would be $50 and you ended up
                                                                                                                                                               Keith Davis
                                                                                       purchasing a plan for $100 you have -$50 variance. This
                          2.3.1 The Budget: A Living Document
                                                                                       means you have a shortfall of $50. If you add up every
                          It is important to estimate your upcoming overseas
                                                                                       variance value in Column D it will show you the overall
                          expenses as closely as possible to ensure that you will
                                                                                       amount by which you are over or under budget. We highly
                          have enough money to cover them. Some expenses
                                                                                       recommend that you continually track your expenses in
                          will be paid out before you leave Canada; some in the
                                                                                       this way to make sure you do not inadvertently overspend
                          host country. Budgeting is a way of organizing your
                                                                                       while overseas.
                          anticipated expenses and tracking them. A budget can
                          help you to ensure that you do not run out of funds while    2.3.2 U of S Tuition and Study Abroad
                          overseas, and that you are able to take full advantage       Program Fees
                          of this opportunity (ex. participate in the host country’s   Program costs and tuition requirements vary between
                          cultural life, travel throughout the host country and even   study abroad programs. Consult your Program Coordinator
                          elsewhere in the region). Be aware: a budget will not        for a tuition assessment and the deadlines by which tuition

                          magically generate the income you need, but it will make     should be paid. To find out more about tuition assessments

                          sure you know how much you need. There is general            and deadlines, go to the U of S website

                          information about budgeting on the U of S website, 

                                                                                       2.3.3 Funding Your Study Abroad Program
                          The Budget Framework at the end of this section lists        The cost (to students) of study abroad programs differ,
 It’s clearly a budget.
    It’s got a lot of     expenses that are common to most study abroad                as do the subsidies. In general, students going abroad
     numbers in it.       experiences. It is only a starting point. When overseas,     on academic programs are eligible for student loans,
          George Bush     students have different purposes and lifestyles, and         bursaries and scholarships. The U of S website section on
                          consequently different expenses; no one budget will be       Money Matters (
                          identical to another. Begin working on your budget early     provides information on how to apply for all three.
                          – today! But make sure it is a living document: that you     Further, in some cases, colleges and departments will
                          don’t make it up once and then file it, never to be seen     also provide a degree of financial support for students in
                          again. Continually update your budget as your expenses       certain programs. Your Program Coordinator can provide
                          change.                                                      you some options specific to your program.

20                                                                                                                                                                     21
                           There are other sources of funding that you might want         4. Community Clubs and Organizations: There are
                           to consider. When approaching other individuals and              a number of community clubs and organizations
                           organizations for financial assistance, it is important to       that sometimes support young people in
                           be clear about why you are asking for, and how you will          overseas initiatives. Often this support is tied to a
                           be using any contributed funds. There are all sorts of           commitment by the youth to correspond with the
                           benefits associated with an international experience that        group or write articles while overseas and/or make a
                           you should be able to articulate. For instance, it looks         presentation upon his or her return. Examples of such
                           good on the resume. At the back of this section is a             organizations include Rotary International, Lions Club,
                           Self Assessment form to help you articulate some of the          The Shriners, Kiwanis, local businesses, churches,

                           benefits you anticipate to your upcoming study abroad            banks, media such as local newspaper, radio stations

                           experience. We suggest you work through this document            etc. Each branch of each organization will likely have
                           and complete a budget (see Section 2.3.1) before you             different policies around such financial support, so
                           approach others for financial assistance. Also, keep in          contact one in your home town for more information
  There is no greater      mind that some individuals and/or organizations may be         5. “Fundraisers”: Do you dance? Can you sing? Are
  gift to oneself than     more willing to contribute to airfare or tuition as opposed      you a good skateboarder? Do you know a lot about
education and studying
                           to helping you purchase a new back-pack. Finally, be             the country to which you are travelling? You may be
   in a foreign land.
                           clear that you are asking for a financial contribution, not      able to organize an event or activity around your
   Visiting different
  countries and being      a donation; study abroad is not a charitable pursuit and         personal interests and abilities. Further, if there
 able to see the history   neither you nor the U of S is able to issue tax receipts.        are other students participating on the same study
  yourself is far more                                                                      abroad program, you may be able to organize a
                           What follows is a list of other potential sources of income:
    meaningful than
                                                                                            group activity. Try to think of something as original
  what a textbook can        1. Economize: For those who are not already frugal,
                                                                                            and relevant as possible. At the same time be wary
  describe. Being able          cultivate thriftiness. Buy less coffee? Cook more of
  to walk the narrow                                                                        of any activity that requires you to invest significant
                                your own food? Walk more? Only you know where to
   winding streets of                                                                       funds (ex. renting a hall for $500). Almost all event
                                make the cuts. Take a look at your current spending
Europe – an experience                                                                      organizers have coordinated an event or activity that
        in itself.              habits and trim them; then put your savings into a
                                                                                            cost more money than it earned. That is not a story
form U of S Outbound            study abroad fund.
                                                                                            you want to tell!
    Exchange Student         2. Personal Contacts: For your birthday or other
                                                                                          6. Study Abroad Assistance Fund: Upon your return,
                                celebratory holidays, ask for cash contributions (no
                                                                                            there is a fund available to students who have already
                                matter how small) or for items you will need to go
                                                                                            completed a successful overseas study experience.
                                abroad (for instance an alarm clock).
                                                                                            The Study Abroad Assistance Fund (SAAF) provides
                             3. Employment: Like the song says, “Get a Job.”                travel assistance to U of S students who have
                                This could be just several hours per week of                successfully completed an academic education
                                extra employment for which all funds earned are             abroad program. More information and applications
                                dedicated to your study abroad fund. However, make          are available at the Global Commons (Room 60,
                                sure that further employment does not jeopardize            Lower Place Riel) or on-line at http://students.usask.
                                your current academic activities                            ca/academic/studyabroad/pdf/saaf.pdf.

22                                                                                                                                                    23
                             2.3.4 Banking                                                 The necessary Personal Identification Number (PIN) may
                             Make an appointment with your bank before you leave           vary in required length or number of digits from country
                             to study abroad. Inform them of your plans, the timing of     to country. Your bank may be able to issue you a PIN
                             events, and your individual needs. It may also help you to    appropriate for the countries you will be visiting. You
                             ask them the following questions:                             should also inquire as to the fees for using your ATM card
                               • What is the best way to communicate with the bank
                                 while abroad?                                             2.3.7 Exchanging Currency
                               • Does the bank have a branch or affiliation with           Before you leave Canada, exchange a small amount
                                 another bank in your host country?                        of money (about $100.00) into the currency of the

                               • What is the most convenient bank to use in the host       host country. This will help you get from the airport to

                                 country when transferring funds?                          your accommodations and to cover any unexpected

                                                                                           expenses before you can access a bank in the host
                               • Does the bank recommend Canadian dollars being
                                                                                           country. It is better to do this before you leave; often the
                                 sent directly to the foreign bank account or should
                                                                                           exchange rates available at airports are not competitive
                                 money be exchanged first in Canada?
     If you use your
                                                                                           - if the office is even open when you arrive! It is also
credit card to withdraw        • What are the terms for cash advances on credit            recommended that you research the degree to which the
 cash, interest accrues
  immediately. To save                                                                     Canadian dollar is readily convertible in the host country.
    money, consider            • How do you replace debit and/or credit cards while        It may be wiser to take American dollars. Similarly, find
advancing funds to your          abroad?                                                   out which brand of traveller’s cheque is most easily
 credit card account so
                               • Do they recommend using ATMs in the host country,         convertible. Finally, it is a good idea to take a certain
that it carries a positive
                                 and can they help you do so?                              amount of money in traveller’s cheques as a safety

                             2.3.5 Credit Cards
                                                                                           2.3.8 Emergency Funds

                             You might want to acquire a credit card in preparation
                             for an overseas excursion. The bills accumulated would        Try to have some money set aside at home for emergency

                             be payable here at home by your banking designate             use while abroad should the need arise, or as a cushion

                             (or power of attorney) and it is a handy tool for large       once you return to Canada. Leave this money with family
                                                                                                                                                            When preparing to
                             purchases. If you do use credit cards overseas, beware!       or friends or in a separate bank account. While you may        travel, lay out all your
                             Some countries are notorious for credit card fraud. Be        not need to use it, it will give you (and your family) some      clothes and all your
                             careful when and where you use your credit card and pay       peace of mind.                                                 money. Then take half
                                                                                                                                                           the clothes and twice
                             careful attention to the disposal of your credit card slips
                                                                                                                                                                 the money.
                             while you are abroad.                                         2.4 Packing                                                              Susan Heller
                             2.3.6 ATM Cards                                               As every host country has different facilities and
                             In many countries you can obtain money directly from          experiences a different climate, there is no universal
                             a Canadian bank account by using overseas ATM                 packing list for students studying abroad. What follows
                             machines (usually on the “Plus” or “Cirrus” networks).        is a basic list of the minimum packing requirements.

24                                                                                                                                                                             25
                           Remember, you will be carrying everything—pack light          Clothing
                           and think layers! Your Program Coordinator may provide        Your Program Coordinator will likely provide you with
                           you with a list of items more specific to your destination.   information about the customs and climate to help you

                             • passport                                                  pack appropriate clothing. Make sure to consider gender

                             • student visa                                              and age differences when packing. Finally, make sure you

                             • proof and/or access to funds (ex. credit cards etc.)      are packing for the right season (s): imagine packing for a

                             • copies of all important documentation                     Canadian summer and arriving in January! Regardless of

                                                                                         the climate and culture, you should get some wear out of
                             • extra passport photos
                                                                                         the following:
                             • wallet/purse/money belt
                             • ziploc bags                                                 • underwear
 The World is a book,                                                                      • socks
                             • guide book(s) and maps of the regions you will be
 and those who do not                                                                      • athletic clothing (running shoes, shorts, swimsuit—
travel read only a page.                                                                     although make sure these are culture appropriate if
                             • photographs and other mementos (of family, friends,           you will be exercising outdoors)
       Saint Augustine
                               pets, favourite places)                                     • t-shirts, shirts, blouses
                             • notebook with mailing addresses, telephone numbers          • sweater, fleece
                               & email addresses of friends, family and university         • rain gear
                               contacts.                                                   • pants, skirt, dress
                             • journal                                                     • one ‘nice’ outfit (clothing you would wear to an
                             • internal frame backpack or suitcase (determine which          interview or semi-formal dinner)
                               is most appropriate for you and your travel plans)          • appropriate outerwear

                             • luggage lock(s) and tags                                    • sport sandals
                                                                                           • good walking shoes
                             • Swiss army knife (Note: this should be packed with
                                                                                           • boots if necessary
                               checked luggage. Do not pack into carry-on luggage
                                                                                           • Other __________________________________________
                               any item that could be perceived as a weapon)
                             • camera, film, batteries                                   NOTE: Remember to be aware of stringent security
                             • small flashlight                                          measures at international airports. Consult the list of
                             • alarm clock (battery operated)                            items that may not be carried in carry-on luggage. Some
                             • sunglasses                                                airlines will no longer allow luggage to be locked.
                             • sunscreen
                             • hat
                             • sewing kit; safety pins
                             • glasses/contact lenses; cleaning solutions;
                               prescription (if applicable)
                             • toiletries
                             • required medications/prescriptions and
                             • basic first aid kit (Note: this should also be packed
                               with checked luggage for security reasons)

26                                                                                                                                                     27
     Exchange Program/Study Abroad – Budget Framework                                         Should I Go or Should I Stay?
                                                  B. Projected     C. Actual                  A Self Assessment
                                                    Expense        Expense      D. Variance
                                                                                              This self-assessment is to be completed by yourself, for
               A. Budget Expense Item             (Canadian $)   (Canadian $)     (B – C)
                                                                                              yourself. Be honest. You are the only person who will be
                                                                                              reading this but it may clarify whether or not this is the
     Travel – passport                                                                        right time for you to study overseas. If so, this process
     Travel – student visa                                                                    may also help you to articulate your hopes and concerns

     Travel – return airfare                                                                  for this experience for yourself, to your family and other
                                                                                              loved ones… and perhaps to potential funders!
     Provincial Health Insurance

     Extended Health Insurance                                                                Why do I want to go?
     Travel Insurance                                                                         Five reasons I want to study overseas.
     International Student Identity Card (ISIC)
     Film & Film Processing
     Accommodation In Country
     Local “in –country” transportation

     Text books
                                                                                              Five things I want to accomplish overseas.
     School supplies
     Entertainment (e.g. movies, concerts)
     Internet hook up

     Long Distance phone charges                                                              5.

     Personal items
                                                                                              Are my motivations (as per answers to #2 and #3) practical
     Weekend/holiday travel
                                                                                              or achievable within a study abroad experience?

     Emergency Funds



28                                                                                                                                                         29
     What do I hope to learn from the host culture?              How will I create a support network for myself when away
                                                                 from friends and family?

     How do I hope to integrate this experience with my future
                                                                 How will I manage the finances associated with a study
                                                                 abroad program: both while I am overseas and upon my
                                                                 return to Saskatoon?

     Am I ready?

     Five things that concern me about studying overseas.
                                                                 What are my minimal requirements for a study abroad
                                                                 program (in terms of climate, lifestyle, academics,
                                                                 financial commitment etc.)? Are they being met by the
     3.                                                          program to which I am applying?



     How will I manage these concerns?

                                                                 The amount of time invested prior to departure in
                                                                 research and reflection on your own abilities and needs
                                                                 will increase your chances of success abroad many times
                                                                 over. Take time before you apply to think about yourself
     How will I manage the stress associated with both the
                                                                 and how this experience fits with the rest of your life. On
     academic and personal changes that come with a study
                                                                 a separate piece of paper, preferably a journal, carry out
     abroad program?
                                                                 an assessment of the following components of your life.
                                                                 Specifically, consider where you are at and how a study
                                                                 abroad program might affect these components.

                                                                 • current year of study       • health
                                                                 • financial situation         • future dreams & aspirations
     How flexible am I about where I will live?
                                                                 • language abilities          • desired level of privacy
                                                                 • past experiences            • personality
                                                                 • level of independence       • leisure activities
                                                                 • group/individual interactions

30                                                                                                                             31
                                               ChApter 3                             obtain adequate medical coverage for travel outside

                                                                                     Saskatchewan. This includes three types of insurance

     ‘‘                Health and Wellness                                           coverage: 1) your basic provincial health coverage;
                                                                                     2) extended medical coverage for travelers; and 3)
                       Travelling to, and living in, a new environment can affect    emergency medical coverage. Often extended medical
 The first wealth is   your health and wellness in a number of different ways.       includes emergency coverage but this is not always
                       Biologically, you will be exposed to organisms in the host    the case. Confirm with your Program Coordinator, but
Ralph Waldo Emerson
                       country, for instance viruses, bacteria, fungi and insects,   it is most likely that you are responsible for arranging
                       to which your body may not have immunity. Emotionally         insurance coverage during your time abroad.
                       and psychologically you will be traveling in an
                                                                                     You should already have basic provincial coverage, either
                       environment where you may not have the social support
                                                                                     from Saskatchewan Health or your province of permanent
                       of friends and family nearby. And physically, there will be
                                                                                     residence (to which you pay taxes). It is important to
                       risk factors (ex. high crime areas of town) different from
                                                                                     confirm this, however, as additional medical insurance is
                       those that you experience in Saskatchewan. This section
                                                                                     often contingent on the basic coverage provided by your
                       addresses many of these issues and provides some
                                                                                     provincial government.
                       strategies for coping. Although this section is organized
                                                                                     You will likely have to make arrangements for extended
                       into “Before You Go, ” “While You are Abroad” and
                                                                                     and emergency medical coverage. Reasonable rates can
                       “When You Return” it is still important to read this entire
                                                                                     usually be found through travel companies, or you may
                       section before you depart. We want you to be happy,
                                                                                     already be covered under an extended health component
                       healthy and safe while abroad, and you play a big part in
                                                                                     of your parent’s insurance. Carefully read each insurance
                       making sure this happens.

                                                                                     company’s coverage to understand what will and will not
                                                                                     be covered while you are outside Canada. For example,
                       3.1 Before You Go                                             many companies will not cover accidents incurred while
                                                                                     participating in extreme, professional, or varsity sports,          To arrange a
                       The preparation that you do before your departure
                                                                                                                                                   medical appointment, or
                       lays the groundwork for a healthy and safe overseas           pre-existing conditions, or travel to certain regions.
                                                                                                                                                   to get more information
                       experience. This includes completing all necessary                                                                            on maintaining good
                                                                                     3.1.2 Medical Examinations
                       medical paperwork, ensuring your immunizations are                                                                             health, go to the U
                                                                                     It is important for your own health and wellness to have
                       up-to-date and planning for other health needs that may                                                                       of S Student Health
                                                                                     a medical examination prior to travel. In particular,            Centre website at
                       arise while overseas. Depending upon your program,
                                                                                     you should contact your family doctor if you have any          http://students.usask.
                       the Program Coordinator may provide further and more
                                                                                     ongoing medical issues; this is to ensure that you are fit    ca/wellness/health/shc/.
                       specific information related to health and wellness in the
                                                                                     for the physical and emotional stresses of travel overseas.
                       host country.
                                                                                     If you do not have a family doctor, contact the U of S

                       3.1.1 Health Insurance                                        Student Health Centre to arrange for an examination.

                       University of Saskatchewan policy (See section                Some countries require a medical examination certificate
                       3.2 for details of U of S travel policy) requires that        before they will issue you a visa. In certain cases this
                       students participating in an international experience         could include proof of HIV negative status.

32                                                                                                                                                                      33
                           3.1.3 Immunizations                                              3.1.4 Dental Considerations

                                                                                            Visit your dentist before you leave. It may be much more
                           After your medical examination, check with your Program
                                                                                            complex – and expensive! - to have dental work done
                           Coordinator, doctor, public health unit and/or travel
    To arrange your                                                                         abroad. Furthermore, the standards and procedures may
                           medicine specialist for advice on which immunizations
immunizations contact                                                                       differ greatly from those to which you are accustomed.
                           you will need for the country or countries you plan to

the International Travel
                           visit. In Saskatoon, contact the International Travel Clinic
  Clinic in Saskatoon                                                                       3.1.5 Copies of Medical Records and

                           to discuss your travel plans. The International Travel Clinic
    www.saskatoon                                                                                 Prescriptions (click    can provide you with health information about your host
                                                                                            In case of illness, or for ongoing care, it is a good
on the Immunization &      country including suggested and/or required vaccinations
                                                                                            idea to travel with copies of your medical records and
     Vaccines link)        and potential illnesses of which you should be aware.                                                                                Never go to a doctor
                                                                                            prescriptions. If you take medication on a regular basis,
      #108 – 407           Some vaccinations require a series of shots over several                                                                               (or dentist) whose
                                                                                            try to take a supply large enough to last while you are
     ludlow Street         weeks to months, so plan ahead. Ask for an International                                                                            office plants have died.
                                                                                            away – assuming it is not perishable. If your medications
     Saskatoon, SK         Vaccination Certificate from your doctor to record all of your                                                                              Erma Bombeck
        S7S 1P3                                                                             are perishable, request a diagnosis-prescription from
                           vaccinations. (This is a visa requirement in some countries).
     Tel: 655-4780                                                                          your doctor that describes the medication so that
                           The following list outlines some common, overseas health         another physician may re-prescribe it in the host
                           issues and concerns. This is a basic and very general list       country. Depending upon the drug, you should consider
                           derived from information posted by the International             contacting the host country’s embassy (or equivalent) in
                           Travel Clinic in Saskatoon (www.saskatoonhealthregion.           Canada to ask about any laws or restrictions regarding
                           ca/your_health/ps_itc_about_us.htm) and the Public               your particular drug(s).
                           Health Agency of Canada ( You
                                                                                            Be sure to label all medication clearly and store it in
                           can access these sites and their links via the U of S
                                                                                            containers that identify the prescription number on
                           website on student exchanges (
                                                                                            the label. Travel with the appropriate paperwork (i.e.
                           acadmic/studyabroad/exchange/personal). This list is not
                                                                                            prescriptions and/or Doctors letters). This could ease
                           inclusive of all potential health issues and concerns. If
                                                                                            customs clearance in and out of countries, and make it
                           you participate in a study abroad, student exchange
                                                                                            easier to refill your prescriptions should the need arise.
                           or any other international program through the U of S,
                                                                                            Within several weeks of your departure, be sure to
                           you are responsible for fully researching your personal
                                                                                            check both departing and arriving airport policies about
                           health needs and concerns, including country-specific
                                                                                            traveling with medication. Recent international events
                                                                                            have resulted in increased security measures around the
                           • Chickenpox                      • Malaria                      world; this may impact how and where (i.e. carry-on vs.
                           • Cholera                         • Measles/Mumps/Rubella        checked baggage) travellers are required to store their
                           • Diptheria/Polio/Tetanus (DPT) • Meningococcal Disease
                                                                                            prescribed medications.
                           • Hepatitis A                     • Rabies
                           • Hepatitis B                     • Tick-borne Encephalitis      3.1.6 Glasses and Contact Lenses
                           • Hepatitis C                     • Traveller’s Diarrhea (TD)    If you wear glasses or contact lenses, travel with an extra
                           • HIV/AIDS                        • Tuberculosis                 pair (or pairs), along with their written prescriptions. Also,
                           • Influenza                       • Typhoid                      if applicable, try to take sufficient quantities of contact lens
                           • Japanese Encephalitis           • Yellow Fever

34                                                                                                                                                                                  35
     solution since your brand may not be available in the host     information you need, but be prepared to research your
     country. Remember that security measures for international     individual needs.
     travel are becoming increasingly stringent, so make sure to
     check the security procedures of both the departure and
                                                                    3.2.1 Minimize Risk, Maximize Safety
                                                                                                                                      U of S Policy 7.01 has
     arrival airports about how to pack such substances.            Studying overseas is a great personal, academic and              important information
                                                                    even professional opportunity. However international             on minimum program
     3.1.7 First Aid Kit                                            travel does come with some safety risks – an obvious            requirements including
     It is a good idea to make yourself a first-aid kit for your    threat to your general well being. This section considers         a central information
     travels. Most of the items you include will be available                                                                       registry, pre-departure
                                                                    some of theses risks and outlines general strategies for
     overseas but not necessarily the moment you need them.                                                                        orientations, insurance,
                                                                    minimizing risk to maximize both your safety and your
                                                                                                                                      waivers and releases,
     What follows are minimum recommendations for a basic           experience. Your Program Coordinator will provide you             as well as emergency
     first-aid kit:                                                 with information about more specific safety issues in the      plans. Go to www.usask.
        • aspirin, acetamenophen or ibuprophen (pain killer         host country.                                                  ca/policies/index.htm to
                                                                                                                                     read the entire policy.
        • antihistamine (allergy medication that targets            Know U of S Travel Policy
          inflammation response)                                    The University of Saskatchewan has important policy
        • Immodium and/or Pepto-Bismol (medicine for                on international travel. Policy 7.01 (International Travel
          stomach upset)
                                                                    Risk Management – Academic Mobility Programs) and
        • antiseptic cream or lotion
                                                                    supporting procedures can be found on the U of S
        • bandages and Band aids
        • antifungal cream                                          website at Make sure

        • scissors and tweezers                                     that you consult this policy as it establishes the minimum
        • a thermometer                                             risk management requirements of students involved in
        • sunscreen                                                 international study. At the same time, it establishes the
        • lip balm                                                  university’s risk management responsibilities towards
        • insect repellant                                          students preparing to study abroad.
        • alcohol swabs
                                                                    Contact Consular Affairs
                                                                    Canada’s Consular Affairs website (
     3.2 While you are Abroad                                       provides important information on how to prepare for an
     By the time you step on the plane, you have already            international trip including how to get assistance while
     done a lot of work towards taking care of your health          abroad. This site also posts country-specific travel reports
     and wellness: you’ve done the paperwork, had the               and a daily travel bulletin that we recommend you consult,
     immunizations, packed the first-aid kit and researched         particularly during the final weeks before your departure.
     the major health issues in the host country. There’s           Among their other services, Consular Affairs enables
     more! Health and wellness is a never-ending job. You           Canadians who are, or will be living in a foreign country
     can’t quit, even if you want to. This section will highlight   for three months or longer, to register. So register! In
     the most important things to consider while overseas.          the event of a natural disaster, civil unrest, or family
     But remember, there are also program-specific and              emergency, Consular Affairs will be able to contact you.
     individual-specific issues that you need to consider. Your     Registration is voluntary and free; any personal information
     Program Coordinator will provide you with some of the          that you provide upon registration is protected in

36                                                                                                                                                       37
Remember what Bilbo
                           accordance with Canada’s Privacy Act. Take advantage of
                           this service by going to and clicking
                           on Before You Go – a valuable source of all sorts of
                           information pertaining to international travel preparation.
                                                                                                forward to a consular office in Ottawa, or you will be
                                                                                                asked to leave a message to be returned asap. Make
                                                                                                sure to leave your name and contact details.

   used to say: It’s a                                                                       2) Send an email to or make
                           What follows are more tips from Canada’s Consular Office.
  dangerous business,                                                                           a collect call (1-613-996-8885) to Foreign Affairs
                           Canadian travelers should ensure that they:
 Frodo, going out your                                                                          Canada in Ottawa, 24 hours a day, seven days a
door. You step onto the      • have consulted the host country Travel Report. These             week.
 road, and if you don’t        reports are continuously updated and contain the
 keep your feet, there’s       latest information on security and safety issues;           Get the Lay of the Land
no knowing where you                                                                       By the time you arrive, you will have done a great deal of
                             • obtain detailed information on how to contact the
might be swept off to.”                                                                    research on the host country and even the region in which
                               nearest Canadian government office (i.e. embassy,
         J.R.R. Tolkien                                                                    it is situated. Now it is time to get the lay of the land or to
                               high commission or consulate) in the host country;
                                                                                           “ground truth” your research. If you have the opportunity,
                             • leave detailed information re travel plans with a close
                                                                                           discover your new surroundings by experiencing them!
                               family member or friend in Canada;
                                                                                           If you will be in the same town or city for several days
                             • are able to answer detailed questions concerning            or weeks, and schedule permits, take a day to walk
                               their luggage and can provide quick and easy access
                                                                                           around and explore. Use a travel guidebook and find
                               to all suitcases and packages. Security officials are
                                                                                           different areas of town by using public transportation.
                               very rigid concerning personal items that could be
                                                                                           Make sure that any explorations you undertake are
                               considered weapons including pocket knives, nail files
                                                                                           within the parameters of your particular program and
                               and medical syringes. Electronic devices are also very
                               carefully scrutinized; and                                  are made known to the Program Coordinator if that is a
                             • follow the orders of police and security officials at
                               all times and avoid casual comments about security          When exploring, it is important to be cautious. Where
                               measures that could be misinterpreted.                      are the ‘safe’ areas of town? What about the less safe? As
                                                                                           a female is it considered safe to walk alone at night? Is
                           Know How to Access Emergency Assistance While
                           Abroad                                                          there a bus that no one takes? Some of this information

                           In the event that you require emergency assistance while        will be shared by the Program Coordinator; some

                           abroad, you can access official help in a couple of ways:       you may learn from other study abroad students and
                                                                                           host nationals. While we are not suggesting that you
                             1) Contact the Canadian government office in the
                                                                                           swear off certain areas of town or even certain types of
                                host country. This could be the Canadian Embassy,
                                                                                           transportation, knowing that you are in a “higher crime
                                Canadian Consulate, Canadian High Commission,
                                                                                           area,” or that host nationals consider it insanity to bike at
                                or if Canada does not have a mission in country,
                                                                                           noon-hour (due to the heat) will help you to make safer
                                the embassy/consulate/high commission of an
                                                                                           choices. Above all, use your common sense: if it’s not safe
                                alternative country – usually Commonwealth – that
                                                                                           in Canada it’s likely not safe overseas.
                                has been designated to act on behalf of Canadians
                                as well as their own host nationals. If you call outside   Avoid Accidents
                                office hours, your telephone call will automatically       Accidents are the most common cause of injury and

38                                                                                                                                                           39
     death in young travelers, particularly motor vehicle                jewellery, passport and other possessions in a safe
     accidents. Use precautions with all types of travel and             place.
     don’t be afraid to look foolish i.e. be the only person
                                                                      3) Avoid carrying valuables and wearing expensive
     wearing a life jacket on a crowded boat! Always use
                                                                         clothing or jewellery, particularly when travelling in
     safety belts and helmets. As in Canada, avoid alcohol
                                                                         high risk parts of the country or city in which you are
     when driving as well as night driving and overcrowded
                                                                      4) Be sensible about where you go and when you go.
     Avoid Political Strife
                                                                         As in Canada, it is not street-smart to walk along
     While the U of S does not send students to countries that
                                                                         down dark alleys at night. Learn about different
     are considered too dangerous for tourists, sometimes
                                                                         areas of town and the country, and use your common
     situations arise. Keep aware of developments in the host
                                                                         sense when visiting them.
     country before you arrive, and while you are in country.
     We strongly recommend against the participation of             Protect Yourself from HIV and other STIs
     U of S students in local protests and/or political events      HIV/ AIDS is a health risk throughout the world. In some

     while overseas. We require that U of S students obey the       Sub-Saharan African countries, the infection rate in the

     laws of the land in which they are residing. If you should     adult population is over 30% - a staggering figure. As you

     suddenly find yourself in a situation of social or political   should be aware, HIV is transmitted by intimate contact

     unrest, contact the Canadian Consular office as described      with body fluids due to unprotected sex, contaminated

     earlier.                                                       needles, razors and blood products among other
                                                                    transmission methods. If you are sexually active while
     Be wary of Black Market Activity
                                                                    away, be responsible for your health and that of your
     In some countries, there is a black market for foreign
                                                                    partner(s): always use a condom.
     exchange - especially for American currency. Please note
     that Canadians have been deported from other countries         Condoms help protect against HIV and other sexually

     or arrested for engaging in illegal transactions. In cases     transmitted infections (STIs). They are now available in

     such as these, the Canadian representatives in country         male and female versions and, while not 100% effective,

     are frequently unable to assist the offender                   they help defend against HIV and other STIs such as
                                                                    such as herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis, genital warts and
     Prevent Theft
                                                                    chlamydia. If you have had a high risk contact (i.e. did not
     Foreigners are often the target of theft in many countries.
                                                                    use a condom or a condom broke during intercourse),
     There are a couple of things you can do to safeguard
                                                                    or you have symptoms such as genital warts, ulcers or
     your belongings from damage or theft, or to facilitate
                                                                    genitourinary discomfort, ensure that you obtain STI
     their replacement:
                                                                    testing. This could be in the nearest reliable medical
       1) Obtain an insurance policy for your possessions           clinic if you are still abroad, or with your family doctor or
          before you go.
                                                                    the U of S Student Health Centre in Saskatoon. For more
       2) If you are living in a dormitory or hostel, lock your     information on HIV and other STIs, see the U of S website
          door and secure your money, travellers’ cheques,

40                                                                                                                                  41
                         3.2.2 Basic Wellness                                          Nutrition

                         Safety is an important component of your general well         It can be difficult to make good nutritional choices while
                         being, but there is more to consider with regards to          overseas, particularly while you are on the go, unfamiliar

                         health and wellness. This section reminds you about           with the food and/or trying to stretch your money. It
                         taking care of the basics of good health, particularly        is still important to eat well, with health in mind. As in

                         in consideration of the stressors that come with life         Canada, try to maintain a diet that is rich in vegetables,
Early to bed and early
                         overseas. While we believe that the mind and body             whole grains and fruits (assuming you are taking hygienic
 to rise, makes a man
                         are connected, this section focuses more on biological        precautions such as washing fruit well). Avoid processed
healthy, wealthy, and
          wise.          health. Section Four: Adapting to a New Culture will          foods, fatty oils or meats, excessive salt, sugar and             Did you know that jet
                         consider the emotional strain of adapting to a new            alcohol. But, try new foods. Being in another country is a      lag is a sleep disorder?
     Benjamin Franklin
                                                                                       wonderful opportunity to expand your culinary horizons.         Jet lag occurs when the
                         culture. the emotional strain of adapting to a new culture.
                                                                                                                                                        body’s biological clock
                                                                                       So, be bold but sensible.
                         Drinking Water and Food                                                                                                       is out of sync with local
                         In most ‘developed’ countries health risks from food and      Sleep                                                             time. When travelling
                                                                                       It is important to maintain a good sleep schedule while            to a new time zone,
                         water are no greater than those you face in Saskatchewan.
                                                                                                                                                        our bodies are slow to
                         However, in some ‘developing’ countries these risks can       your body is adapting to a new environment. You may
                                                                                                                                                         adjust and remain on
                         be much higher, particularly with regards to drinking water   even feel run down for the first couple of days to weeks
                                                                                                                                                       their original biological
                         and food. This risk increases the less touristy and more      in the host country and sleep more than usual. Give your           schedule for several
                         rural your travels. While your Program Coordinator will be    body this time to adjust and renew and keep it rested            days. The result is that
                         able to provide you more information about the risks in       throughout the entire study abroad experience.                      we feel excessively
                                                                                                                                                          sleeping during the
                         the host country, when in doubt follow these hints:           Climate                                                             day or wide awake
                         Drinking water                                                Adjusting to a new climate will take a toll on your                 at night. For more
                           • drink boiled or sterilized water                          body, particularly if it is significantly different than that    information on jet lag,
                           • don’t use ice (freezing does not kill all parasites and   which you experience in Saskatchewan. It could take              visit the national sleep
                             bacteria that may be present)                                                                                             foundation’s website at
                                                                                       anywhere from days to weeks for you to fully adjust – in
                           • drink only bottled drinks that have been opened in                                                                         www.sleepfoundation.
                                                                                       some cases, just in time to return home! In hot climates
                             your presence (carbonated beverages are the safest)                                                                       org/sleeptionary/index.
                           • do not drink fruit juices from street vendors             protect yourself against dehydration and heat stroke.                   php?id=18.
                           • do not use tap water (not even to brush your teeth)       Maintain good nutrition and drink lots of water and
                             and keep your mouth shut while showering                  juices to maintain hydration. Regardless of where you
                                                                                       are, protecting yourself from the sun is very important.
                         Choosing food
                           • choose food that has been freshly cooked or boiled        Skin cancer and retinal damage rates are increasing
                           • eat fruit and vegetables that are easily peeled and       worldwide: protective hats, sunscreen and sunglasses are
                             sliced without contamination and avoid un-peelable        all a good idea – in Saskatoon and overseas.
                             fruits and vegetables as well as salads
                           • eat food from sealed packs or cans                        Allergies
                           • choose acceptable prepared local foods over               Individuals with severe food allergies have to be
                             incompetently prepared Western meals                      particularly careful when overseas. If you are living in a
                           • avoid buffet food, food on which flies have settled,      host country in which English is not widely spoken, make
                             rare meat, raw fish and sauces that have been left out

42                                                                                                                                                                           43
                            sure you that you are able to articulate the severity of        Managing Stress
                            your allergy in the host country’s language(s). Do not be             Sources of Stress               Symptoms of Stress
                            shy to say (or write): “I will die if I eat_________________”
                                                                                            Major life Events                  Physical

                            It may even help to have a picture of the substance
                                                                                              • Moving to a new community        • Fatigue

                            to which you are allergic, but make sure that you are             • Starting university              • Back or Chest Pain
                                                                                              • Getting married                  • Headaches
                            conveying your inability to eat it as opposed to a desire         • Death of a loved one             • Upset Stomach
                                                                                              • Ending a relationship            • Frequent colds/flu
                            for it. It is also important to make sure that individuals
                                                                                            long Term worries                  Behavioural Changes
                            close to you are aware of your allergy, for instance room
Brain cells create ideas.
                                                                                              • Chronic illness                  • Disturbed sleep
Stress kills brain cells.   mates and the Dorm coordinator. If you use one, carry             • Financial concerns               • Frequent crying
  Stress is not a good      your Epi-Pen at all times and make sure that you are              • Academic concerns                • Difficulty concentrating
                                                                                              • Relationship conflict            • Increased use of drugs/
          idea.             travelling with an adequate supply of adrenaline.                 • Conflict with family/friends       alcohol/caffeine
                                                                                                                                 • Social withdrawal
     Frederick Saunders
                            Managing Stress                                                 Daily Hassles                      Emotional Responses
                            As will be discussed in Section Four, adapting to a new           • Broken computer                  • Anger
                                                                                              • Traffic Jams                     • Anxiety
                            environment and a new culture can be stressful. This              • Line Ups                         • Sadness
                            is not unusual, or necessarily bad as a certain amount            • No clean laundry                 • Irritability

                            of stress is important. Stress can be motivating as the
                                                                                            Strategies for Coping with Stress

                            nervous system requires a degree of stimulation to
                                                                                              •   Take care of your physical health
                            function properly. However, stress that is too intense or

                                                                                              •   Schedule pleasant activities
                            prolonged can be destructive.                                     •   Examine your stressors (can you eliminate them?)
                                                                                              •   Enhance your problem solving skills
                            Interestingly, people perceive different stressors and
                                                                                              •   Maintain supportive relationships
 The greatest weapon        react to stress in different ways. What is stressful for one      •   Seek assistance with addiction problems
 against stress is our      person may not be for another. Further, since stress is           •   Maintain (or cultivate) a sense of humour
ability to choose one                                                                         •   Develop assertiveness skills
                            a psycho-physiological condition, the symptoms vary
                                                                                              •   Learn more about stress management
thought over another.       from person to person. Many of these symptoms are                 •   Be realistic
         William James      biological in that they are felt by the body, even if they        •   Give yourself credit
                            are psychologically generated.                                    •   Exercise!

                            You can learn to manage your stress by learning
                                                                                            3.3 Coming Home
                            to recognize its sources and symptoms, and then
                            developing strategies to cope with stress. The following        When you return to Canada, it is important to dedicate the

                            table summarizes common sources and symptoms of                 same attention to your health as you did when you left. This

                            stress, as well as strategies for coping with it. For more      is particularly true when it comes to managing the stress of

                            information about stress, check out the U of S Student          re-entry (see Section Five) and ensuring that you have a medical

                            Health Centre’s website,              exam by your family doctor or the U of S Student Health Centre

                            wellness/info/mentalhealth/stress/, for more information.       to make sure you are physically well. This will help you better
                                                                                            re-adapt to life in Saskatoon and to face the next academic
                                                                                            term, drawing on your study abroad experience as a positive,
                                                                                            enervating experience as opposed to a draining one.

44                                                                                                                                                             45
                                                    ChApter 4                             4.2 Preparing for the Host Culture
                                                                                          While experience will be the best teacher, you can learn

                           Adapting to a                                                  about some aspects of the host culture before you go

                           New Culture
                                                                                          abroad. Depending upon your program, the Program
                                                                                          Coordinator will provide you with varying amounts of

                           While much of your preparation has to do with paper            country specific information. You should also do your own
                           work, developing tools to successfully adapt to a new and      research, for instance by reading, watching videos and
                           different environment will be one of the most significant      films, and by meeting students or visitors from that country.
                           pieces of preparation that you can do. This section            Visit the Global Commons in Place Riel! There may be
                           discusses ways to ease your cultural adaptation process        students in Saskatoon from your soon-to-be host country
                           by identifying some of the common issues people face           or even former exchange and study abroad students. Try
                           when living in a new culture and suggesting strategies for     to learn about local attitudes towards religion, dress, drugs
                           coping. It is assumed that this section is a supplement to     and drinking, corruption, political activism, public displays
                           other preparation activities specific to your program. See     of affection, etc. The following is a partial list of items and
                           your Program Coordinator for more information.                 issues to research before your departure:

                                                                                            • geography

                           4.1 Culture and Cultural Difference                              • history
                                                                                            • language, culture and food
                           There are many differing definitions and understandings
                                                                                            • interpersonal relationships
                           of the word culture, but a good working definition of
This experience is more                                                                     • religion
 than just traveling and   culture is, the system of shared language (s), beliefs,
                                                                                            • dress code
 learning a language. It   values, customs, behaviours, and artifacts that the
                                                                                            • medical issues and facilities
is about learning about    members of society use to cope with their world and              • industries
   you and learning to     with one another, and that are often transmitted from            • relations with Canada
 adapt and to get along
                           generation to generation through learning (adapted from          • education system
   with others who are
                           Bates and Plog, 1990).                                           • agriculture
 perhaps very different
      from yourself.       Cultural identities often align with nation boundaries,          • working conditions

                former                                                                      • currency and exchange
                           but there are also ethnic cultures, social class cultures,
      U of S Outbound                                                                       • cost of living
                           family cultures, camp cultures, corporate cultures, student
     Exchange Student                                                                       • political system
                           exchange cultures…the list is endless. As implied by
                           the definition, each culture has its own set of norms and      As your departure date draws nearer, make sure you are able
                           ways of being that make sense to its members, but often
                                                                                          to answer the following questions about the host country:
                           does not to outsiders – at least at first. The rest of this
                                                                                            • What are attitudes towards dress in the host country?
                           sub-section will broadly define the new culture(s) in which
                                                                                            • How do people feel about public displays of affection
                           you will be living, while the rest of Section Four describes       in the host country?
                           common reactions to cultural immersion and strategies            • How do people perceive issues surrounding drugs,
                           for successful cross-cultural adaptation.                          corruption, and political activism in the host country?

46                                                                                                                                                          47
       • What is the host country’s current political situation?   is different: how people make decisions, spend their
       • Has the host country been in the headlines lately?        leisure time, resolve conflicts, and express their feelings

       • Do people discuss politics openly in the host             among many other things. Maybe there’s nothing on TV,
         country?                                                  at least that you can understand. Email access may be             There are a number
       • How are Canadians perceived in the host country?          nonexistent or you cannot access it in the same way you           of excellent sites on
                                                                   do at home. What takes minutes at home (shopping,                the internet that will
       • Are there areas in the country that pose higher or
                                                                   making a photocopy, a telephone call) may take hours              help you learn more
         lower safety risks? Where are they? What are they?
                                                                                                                                   about the host culture.
       • What are the greatest health concerns I will have in      or even days in the host country…at least when you do
                                                                                                                                     For basic statistical
         the host country?                                         it. Don’t worry. Culture shock is normal and does not last
                                                                                                                                     information and an
                                                                   forever. You will adjust.                                         historical overview,
     4.3 Culture Shock & Survival Skills                           What are the symptoms of culture shock?
                                                                                                                                 check out the CIA World
                                                                                                                                  Fact Book at http://cia.
     Regardless of how much you learn about a new culture          Individuals differ greatly in the degree to which culture
     from a distance, most individuals experience culture          shock affects them, and when it affects them, but almost         factbook/index.html.
     shock when in a new environment. This can happen when         everyone is affected by it in one way or another. Culture          For information on
     you enter a new academic environment in which most            shock is often delayed, and people may not feel its             health and risk factors
     of the other students have known each other for years,        ‘valleys’ for several months. While some may have an             see Boston College’s
     and it can certainly happen when you settle down in a         extreme reaction others may experience it minimally.                website at www.
     new country for an extended period of time. It can be         Because there is an element of stress to culture shock,
     particularly severe when you suffer both types of culture     many of the symptoms are stress related and include:
                                                                                                                                     htm and follow the
     shock at once! This section will briefly outline culture                                                                        links to Emergency
                                                                     • boredom
     shock and some strategies for coping. Your Pre Departure                                                                     Assistance information.
                                                                     • constant strain
     Orientation and/or other preparation activities will                                                                          For information about
                                                                     • withdrawal (i.e., spending excessive amounts of time       the culture of your host
     consider these issues in more depth.
                                                                       reading; avoiding contact with host nationals)             country we suggest you
     What is culture shock?                                                                                                      go to the Department of
                                                                     • feeling isolated or helpless
     Culture shock is a term used to describe what happens                                                                         Foreign Affairs, Centre
                                                                     • sleeping a lot or tiring easily
     to people when they encounter unfamiliar surroundings                                                                       for Intercultural learning
                                                                     • becoming easily irritated over delays and other minor     at
     and conditions. They often feel a sense of isolation - a
                                                                       frustrations                                               cil-cai/country_insights-
     normal reaction to a new environment in which you no
     longer understand the rules of engagement. Different            • suffering from various body pains and aches

     people react to a new culture in different ways and can         • longing to be back home
     experience any of a range of emotions over time from            • unduly criticizing local customs or ways of doing
     excitement and interest to frustration, depression and            things
     fear of the unknown. These feelings are collectively
                                                                   Some students might experience it in the first twenty
     known as culture shock.
                                                                   minutes after arrival. Or, as one student said, “you could
     What causes culture shock?                                    spend months feeling wonderful until you wake up one
     Change. No matter how open-minded you may be, all             day totally depressed, wondering why you came here in
     of a sudden you are in an environment where everything        the first place.”

48                                                                                                                                                      49
                          Stages of Culture Shock                                            experience through a cross-cultural lens. (In a way
                          Most people who experience culture shock do so in                  this is similar to learning a new language – the stage
                          stages. There is no set time limit on any of these stages          at which you stop translating from English to the new
                          and each individual may experience them to varying                 language in your head but instead just speak the
                          degrees.                                                           new language). There is a new sense of belonging
                                                                                             and sensitivity to the host culture.
                          The five stages of culture shock are:
                                                                                          5) Re-entry Shock. You come home and it is not
                            1) The Honeymoon Stage: Usually this occurs during
                                                                                             what you expected it to be. This is often the most
                              the first days or weeks in a new host culture.
                                                                                             surprising to students who anticipated adaptation
                              Everything is new and exciting. You are very positive,
                                                                                             issues when leaving Saskatchewan, not upon their
                              curious, and anticipate new exciting experiences.

                                                                                             return! Section Five considers re-entry issues for
                              You may even idealize the host culture.
                                                                                             U of S students.

                            2) Culture Shock: Culture shock is the actual upset
                                                                                        Survival Skills: Preparing for Culture Shock
                              that is felt when settling into a new culture. It is
                                                                                        As discussed earlier, it is important to research the host
                              often marked by heightened irritability, bitterness
I hate this place. When                                                                 country. Knowledge is power, so research a variety of
                              and resentment towards cultural-specific things. You
  is the next flight to                                                                 topics including social issues, geography, history and
       Saskatoon?             may blame your frustrations and emotions on the
                                                                                        current customs. If possible, read accounts or talk to
                              new culture (and its shortcomings) rather than on
    U of S Exchange                                                                     individuals who experienced adapting to that culture
Student experiencing          the process of your adaptation to the new culture.
                                                                                        as an adult; they will know the things that may trip
      culture schock          For instance, on a bad day you might perceive the
                                                                                        you up, particularly if they experienced it themselves.
                              transit system to be the stupidest, worst system in
                                                                                        Communicate with the Global Commons to see if they
                              the history of bad transit systems.
                                                                                        can match you with an international student or former
                            3) Cultural Adaptation: There are in fact two facets        exchange student with experience in the host country. Be
                              or elements to the cultural adaptation process. 1. A      wary, however, of thinking you know everything before
                              psychological adjustment or transformation, the end       you even arrive. There will be elements of the new culture
                              result of which leaves you feeling more comfortable       that you may experience in a way different than those
                              in the new culture. 2. A social adjustment in which       with whom you spoke. No matter how much research you
                              you begin participating in local cultural, learning the   do, expect at least a little culture shock.
                              language, making friends and enjoying life some
                                                                                        In anticipation of some culture shock, make sure to pack
                                                                                        small, familiar objects that will remind you of home, such
                            4) Adaptation of Biculturalism: This is, in a sense, an     as books, photos or decorative items. You may appreciate
                              extension of the third stage in which an individual       them when you are feeling low or missing home. Also,
                              experiences a sense of belonging and sensitivity          make a list of things you want to accomplish while you
                              to the host culture. Usually there is much less           are abroad. You can pull out this list when life becomes
                              comparison by you of Canadian culture to the host         difficult overseas; hopefully it will remind you of your
                              culture (whether positive or negative). Instead           original goal(s) and the reason you left Canada in the first
                              you are living day to day without processing your         place!

50                                                                                                                                                     51
     Survival Skills: Culture Shock When Overseas                   4.3 Tips on fitting in: Cross Cultural

     If culture shock hits, be patient. You know why you are
     feeling hostile; keep an open mind and try not to be
                                                                    One of the most difficult elements of a study abroad
     judgmental. Things will get better and there are a number
                                                                    experience can be communicating across cultures: trying
     of positive actions you can take to minimize your negative
                                                                    to understand others and being understood by host              Before I left for Japan,
     feelings. (Obviously the length of your time overseas will                                                                     a returnee warned me
                                                                    nationals. This can be particularly challenging when there
     influence the applicability of some of these suggestions.)                                                                   that blowing one’s nose
                                                                    is an academic component to your experience. Keep in
                                                                                                                                   in public is considered
       • Learn the language: Hopefully you began this before        mind the following cross-cultural communication tips              to be very impolite
         departure. Now, immerse yourself, listen to others,        when interacting with others in the host country.                there. I am so glad I
         speak with them, read children’s books and carry a                                                                              spoke to her.
         phrasebook.                                                Be Polite: It is usually easier to recover from being
       • Stay in touch with your family and friends at home. And,   overly courteous, than from having offended someone.               U of S Outbound
         if you send them negative correspondence at a low          If you do not know the standards of the host country, use         Exchange Student

         point remember to tell them when things get better!        the most conservative standards of Canadian etiquette
                                                                    and then ask someone as soon as possible about the
       • Establish simple goals and celebrate each success.
                                                                    appropriate response. (For instance, you are probably
       • Give yourself time to adapt, and allow yourself to feel
                                                                    being a little too polite if you are left at a bus stop all
         sad about the things you have left behind.
                                                                    day while everyone else pushes on). Be careful! There
       • Get out there! Go out of your way to try and meet
                                                                    could be instances in which polite by Canadian standards
         locals and make friends.
                                                                    is impolite to others. For instance, in some cultures it is
       • Make a list of all the positive things that have           impolite for a guest to refuse food - no matter how many
         happened to you since you have arrived – stretch if        pleases and thank yous are included. Make sure that you
         you have to i.e. I haven’t been attacked by wild dogs!
                                                                    conduct as much research as possible on local norms and
       • Take up a hobby that will allow you to learn more          customs to ensure that your version of polite is in line
         about the host culture. How about a traditional            with that of the host culture.
         sport or art, or simply going to local restaurants and
         festivals on a regular basis?                              Be Funny?: Aspire to learn about the host culture’s
                                                                    humour. If you are laughed at for inexplicable reasons,
       • If possible, volunteer in community activities that
                                                                    find out why; you probably don’t like it and did not
         will allow you to practice the language that you are
                                                                    mean to provoke such a response. While there are many
         (hopefully) learning.
                                                                    funny and famous Canadians working in Hollywood, not
       • If there is something you did at home to help relieve
                                                                    everyone finds us funny! So be careful of telling jokes
         stress (i.e. jogging, taking bubble baths), and you are
                                                                    that may be taken literally or could be offensive; your
         able, keep doing it!
                                                                    brand of humour may not be appreciated because it is
       • Find ways to live with the things that don’t satisfy you
                                                                    not understood or misunderstood. And when you start
                                                                    understanding jokes in the host culture, be proud. Many
       • Re-read journal entries from the early days.
                                                                    consider humour to be the last hurdle in cross cultural
       • Try not to be too hard on yourself, stay confident!        communications.

52                                                                                                                                                      53
     ‘‘‚‚               Speak the language. You do not have to be fluent to             the basics of bargaining as well as the acceptable price

                        try. Learn how to say “hello” and “thank you” in the host       range for different items…and then go for it! Be careful,

                        language, both formally and informally, and then learn          though, not to insult the merchant or the goods by
  Those who know        when to say them. Most people will be flattered, or at          bargaining too hard or too low.
 nothing of foreign     least amused by your attempts so keep trying.
  languages know                                                                                                                                     I love this place. Why
nothing of their own.   Observe people and their attitudes towards physical                                                                         do I have to go back to
Johann Wolfgang von     contact. This will help you to determine if you should                                                                             Saskatoon?
            Goethe      use physical contact, and the level that is appropriate at                                                                        U of S Exchange
                        different stages of your social relationships. For instance,                                                                       Student having
                        hugging or holding hands between men and women                                                                                    worked through
                                                                                                                                                             culture shock
                        may be frowned on in some cultures, while it is the norm
                        for two men to walk down the street holding hands. All
                        cultures have different notions about personal space.
                        Learn about this and respect it.

                        Consider the Role of Small Talk? What you consider
                        to be a personal question may be small talk in another
                        country. Similarly, some of your everyday questions, for
                        instance about an individual’s family, may be considered
                        highly inappropriate and nosey. Try to let host nationals
                        guide your conversations so that you are able to
                        determine what is (and is not) appropriate content. At the
                        same time, don’t be afraid to tell someone that you are
                        not comfortable answering a certain question.

                        Learn about Attitudes Towards Alcohol. Attitudes
                        towards drinking and drunkenness vary from country to
                        country and from person to person. In some countries
                        it is impolite to drink in public or even illegal to drink at
                        all. Never do anything that makes you uncomfortable or
                        unsafe and/or that is against the laws of the host country.
                        Most people will respect your choice not to partake; if
                        you are unsure, tell them you cannot participate for your
                        own cultural reasons.

                        Learn about Bargaining. While uncomfortable for most
                        Canadians, bargaining is common and even expected in
                        many countries. If applicable to the host country, learn

54                                                                                                                                                                      55
                                               ChApter 5                                5.2 Dealing With Re-Entry Culture Shock
                                                                                        Re-entry adjustment is common and can be expected,
                       Returning Home (re-entry)                                        but there are ways to prepare for it and thus minimize
                                                                                        its negative effects. Preparations should start before

                       5.1 Re-Entry Culture Shock                                       you leave the host country and continue during the first
                                                                                        couple of months during your return home to Canada.

                       When travelling overseas, most students invest their

                       time and excitement into preparing for their upcoming            While Abroad
                       adventure; the last thing they expect is to experience a         “Remember that beginnings depend on your endings.”

                       re-entry culture shock upon returning home. Depending              • Try to maintain contact with your friends and family at
    A man travels      upon how long you were overseas, it is possible. While               home throughout your time overseas. It is also a good
 the world in search   overseas, you may have acquired a new language, new                  idea to stay current with local and national news so
of what he needs and   skills and even new ambitions and ways of thinking.                  that you do not feel totally lost when you return home
    returns home
                       Returning home then, may be difficult. You will need to
      to find it.                                                                         • Think about what you want to do when you get home.
                       re-familiarize yourself with friends, family and a way of life
      George Moore                                                                          What courses do you want to take? Do you want to get
                       that may suddenly appear very different. Conversely, they
                                                                                            involved with new groups or clubs. Do you want to find
                       will need to re-familiarize themselves with you.
                                                                                            a job? Try to have a plan for your arrival back home.
                       You may experience Re-entry Culture Shock in a manner                This should include a financial plan. How will you pay
                       similar to Culture Shock. Often there are stages of re-              for school, rent and food? Do you need to apply for
                       cultural adjustment. You may go through a Honeymoon                  provincial student loans or other financial support?
                       phase when you first arrive home, feeling excitement
                                                                                          • Make sure that you say goodbye to those you care
                       about visiting with old friends and family members,
                                                                                            about in the host country, exchange addresses and
                       eating foods that were unavailable in the host country,
                                                                                            thank those who have helped you during your stay. Do
                       and maybe even using familiar washroom facilities! This
                                                                                            not leave any conflicts or issues unresolved.
                       period is often followed by frustration, disorientation
                                                                                          • Bring a few of your favorite things that will make the
                       and depression – collectively known as “Re-entry Culture
                                                                                            transition easier when you come home (i.e. a favorite
                       Shock.” Like Culture Shock, it can take on many forms
                                                                                            snack, the poster you had in your room or the cards
                       and will differ in length and intensity among individuals.
                                                                                            you received for your birthday).
                       While there are no universal symptoms that all sufferers
                       share, some common ones include:                                   • If there is a special object you would like to take
                                                                                            home as a souvenir (i.e. traditional pottery, artwork or
                         • a sense of no longer belonging to your home culture.
                                                                                            fabrics), it is sometimes worth spending a little extra
                         • rustration due to re-adjusting to a different pace of life
                                                                                            on something you will keep for the rest of your life.
                           in Canada.
                         • a sense that friends, family or colleagues are not           Upon Return
                           interested in discussing your experience.                    Acknowledge the re-entry phase as part of your overseas
                         • missing new friends made abroad as well as the               experience. Re-entry shock is real so give yourself time to
                           culture and way of life in the host country.                 readjust to your home environment.

56                                                                                                                                                     57
    Railway termini
                         • Let family and friends know that you are going
                          through this period of adjustment. This will help them
                          understand why you may experience mood swings or
                          fatigue. It helps when you don’t have to hide these
  are our gates to the    natural feelings.
    glorious and the
                         • Keep in touch with the friends you made in the host
  unknown. Through
   them we pass out       country.
  into adventure and     • Give presentations to your family, friends, schools and/
sunshine, and to them,
                          or community groups. (This may even have been a
    alas! we return.
                          requirement of donations that helped to support your
         E.M. Forster
                          study abroad experience). Do anything that allows you
                          to reflect upon and pass on your experiences.

                         • Find like-minded people who have had similar
                          experiences and support each other.

                         • Try to keep your sense of humour.

                         • Take courses where you can directly apply what you
                          have learned.

                         • Share your experiences with other students who are
                          interested in study abroad opportunities

                         • Get involved with the U of S International Student
                          Office(ISO). Join the Oral English volunteer program
                          or the Buddy Program and/or help orient international
                          and in-bound exchange students to life at U of S.

                         • In the event that you volunteer or work with clients
                          from another country, use what you have learned
                          about being a stranger in a strange land to help them
                          feel safe and comfortable in our country.

                         • If you will not be returning to the U of S, engage in
                          meaningful activity (for instance volunteerism). Sitting
                          at home while friends and family are busy with their
                          everyday lives will not help your re-adjustment to
                                                                                                            Student Exchange Program
                                                                                                                   Global Commons
                                                                                                                  60 Lower Place Riel
                                                                                                                  Tel: 306-966-2792

                                                                                      Editor’s Note: Please send all comments and suggestions for future editions
58                                                                                    of Preparing to Go to

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