10. Expect things to be the same
Remember that you are no longer in your home country. Things may not be done the same way in other countries than they are in Canada. You may realize that things are different from the moment you arrive at the airport in your host country. Do not be surprised if you come across a squatting toilet at the airport of a foreign country instead of the sitting toilet that you are used to.
9. Offer to carry a stranger’s luggage
Canadians are known to be friendly, but never take any parcel that is not yours across a border. Drug use and trafficking are prohibited in all countries even though drugs are readily available and openly used in some places. In some countries, possession of even small amounts of drugs carries the death penalty.
8. Go to a McDonald’s while travelling
Sure, having the familiar “comfort food” of McDonald’s is convenient while being abroad, but remember the reason that you are in a foreign country is to explore new things, including their local food.
7. Not learning the basic words of the local language
If you are in a foreign country in which the people do not speak English or French, it is a great idea to at least learn the basics of communicating in the local language. People are generally a lot more receptive to travelers who at least make an effort to learn the local language. Try to speak in the local language as much as possible – you may be surprised by how much you remember even after you return home!
6. Wait until the week before your flight to renew your passport
Due to new regulations you should allow at least three weeks for delivery of your new passport. Passport applications are available at passport offices, post office outlets and Canadian government offices abroad.
5. Underestimate how much money you will need to travel while abroad
Traveling in certain countries can be more expensive than you may think (although there are more funding opportunities than ever before!). It is important to plan ahead by developing an approximate budget and making arrangements for how you will get additional funds if necessary. Canadian currency and traveler’s cheques in Canadian dollars are not always widely accepted. Consult a bank or a foreign currency agent to find out the most appropriate currency to carry.
4. Do extreme activities such as bungee jumping without medical and travel insurance
Buy the most medical and travel insurance that you can afford. Arrange supplementary health and travel insurance. Carry proof of your insurance coverage and give a copy to someone at home. Do not leave Canada without supplementary medical insurance. One of the most common travel insurance is Guard.Me.
3. Lose your passport
You do not want to go through the hassle of losing your passport, it is the only form of identification that allows you to enter your home country. Store your passport in a safe place so you always know that it is protected. Carry identity cards such as your driver’s license and/or the ISIC card for identification when you leave the house for the day.
2. Oblivious of the country’s laws and customs
This may be obvious, but this fact bears repeating: Laws and customs vary from country to country and ignorance of these laws is rarely a defense. For example, in many countries, laws govern what men and women can and cannot wear in public. Penalties for disobeying local laws can be quite severe.
1. Not having fun
Yes, studying abroad comes with the responsibility to do well in your classes. However, not everyone has the opportunity to study and travel at the same time! It is a no brainer that you should take full advantage of your study abroad experience and have as much fun as possible. If you are unsure of where to start, we have some tips on our Top 10 best things to do when abroad. You should also make full use of iStudent Canada (sign up here if you haven’t already!) for resourceful information regarding studying/travelling abroad.