Residents Pre-departure Checklist

1. CHOOSING YOUR ELECTIVE/PROJECT/PLACEMENT

2. ELECTIVE PROTOCOLS

  • Consult your program director for out of country elective application guidelines.
  • Review the Resident Education Abroad Policy (page 20-23 of the Policy and Procedures Manual) – provided by your Department Program director.
  • Residents engaging in clinical work require UBC faculty supervision at all times, unless otherwise stated by your program.
  • Physicians and residents must check with the host country Ministry of Health, professional medical licensing authority, and/or host institution regarding licensing and malpractice insurance requirements for clinical work in the host country.  Usually the host institution or organization will facilitate this, however, temporary licensing may take time, so inquire as early as possible.
  • The BC College of Physicians and Surgeons requires graduating residents, applying for licensure, to provide a Proof of Professional Conduct letter written by either the host country’s licensing College authority or by the host institutions medical director.  Prior to completing your elective, ask for a letter stating that you maintained an appropriate standard of professional conduct from your host institutions director or supervising physician.

3. TRAVEL DOCUMENTS

  • Ensure that your passport is valid for six months beyond your date of entry.
  • For more information about passports, visit the Passport Canada website.
  • Leave paper and email copies of your passport identification page, itinerary, insurance policy, travel documents, placement details, travel arrangements, emergency contacts with friends, family, your global health elective or project director, and your UBC Global Health coordinating office.
  • Review the Traveler’s Checklist on the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada website
  • If your destination country requires a formal visa application, keep in mind that these can take several weeks or even months, so apply as early as possible.
  • To find out more information on entry visa requirements for your destination, or any country that you will be travelling through, visit the country’s consulate or embassy website, or the Travel Reports and Warnings section of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAIT) website.
  • Some countries require proof of Yellow Fever vaccine or Health Insurance.  Please check the Travel Reports and Warnings section of the Foreign Affairs website for country specific entry and exit requirements, laws and customs, and other useful information.
  • For foreign students studying at UBC on a student visa, check your Canadian re-entry documents for expiry dates to ensure you are able to re-enter Canada after your time abroad.
  • If you are not a Canadian passport holder your visa preparation may take significantly longer to organize so be sure to clarify requirements as soon as possible.

4. PRE-DEPARTURE HEALTH PLANNING

  • Take care of health needs: vaccinations, prescriptions, medical certificates, supplies, extra eyeglasses.
  • Arrange for health and travel insurance. Purchase supplemental Health Insurance and Travel Insurance.  Include Emergency Evacuation Insurance in your policy.  Do not skimp on insurance!
  • Check with Resident Doctors of BC regarding Health and Wellness Benefits
  • Don’t leave Canada without your Pacific Blue Cross Worldwide Emergency Medi-Assist Card which provides contact information.
  • You can also purchase travel and evacuation through RBC Travel Insurance for Canadians
  • Check for Travel Warnings to see if it is safe to travel to your destination. Trip cancellation insurance may be null and void if a Travel Warning is already in effect when a trip is booked.
  • Consider taking HIV Post-exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) with you.  Download and review the Accidental Exposure and Therapeutic Guidelines for healthcare workers who have been exposed to HIV.  Consult with your international placement director and travel clinic if this is advised.
  • Be sure to tell the global health elective/project coordinator and your preceptor if you have any special needs or conditions.

5. PRE-DEPARTURE SAFETY PLANNING

  • Visit UBC’s Go Global Safety Abroad website for a number of resources available to help you prepare and stay safe while travelling outside Canada.
  • Review the Faculty of Medicine Safety Abroad Policy for your residency program.
  • Learn what resources are available to you in case of an emergency abroad by working through the Safety Abroad Emergencies Module
  • Register with Registry of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) for all countries you are travelling to during your elective.
  • In the event of a natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency, Consular Affairs will be able to contact you. The registry is voluntary and free.
  • Review the Foreign Affairs website to find important information about how to get consular assistance abroad in case of Emergencies 24/7

6. MONEY MATTERS

  • Phone your credit card and debit card companies and alert them to all countries you will be visiting (including layover stops during travel). Ask about fees for withdrawing foreign currency. Often with credit cards you can put additional payments down so that you have a credit, which can reduce fees for withdrawing cash.
  • Decide how you will pay for things the first few days you are in country. Speak to your contacts in your host country and make sure you have enough of the right currency (be it cash or plastic) to get you through the first few days while you get your bearings (eg. taxi costs, two or three nights of accommodations, meals for 2-3 days etc.). This will help reduce stress upon arriving.
    • Often when ordering foreign currency from Canadian banks it can take several weeks to arrive. Get your currency early.

7. COMMUNICATION TOOLS WHILE IN COUNTRY

  • Determine what forms of communication will be available to you in your host country (email, phone service). Often in the developing world cell phones are quite common, and you can buy SIM cards and pay-as-you-go time at a very minimal cost (frequently at the airport when you land). Consider bringing an unlocked cell phone (or several if traveling with a team) or purchasing a low-cost cell phone in-country. This will be helpful for communicating with your team as well as staying in contact with faculty advisors and loved ones at home.

8. PRE-DEPARTURE TRAINING

  • Pre-departure Training (PDT) is mandatory for all UBC students, residents, and physicians participating in UBC global health electives/projects.  Pre-departure Training modules (CWL log-in required) have been prepared by UBC students and faculty.  Additional resources for pre-departure preparation are located on the Pre-departure Resource page.
  • The UBC Pre-Departure Training Module must be completed no later than 3 weeks prior to your departure date.
  • You must also complete any additional training as required by your elective/project coordinating organization or faculty for your global health work.

9. ON YOUR RETURN TO CANADA

  • Upon your return if you are feeling well, be aware of any changes over time.  If you are not sure, visit your physician.   A TB test is required if you have been exposed to the disease.  Please note some schools require that students have a chest x-ray upon return, and you may want to schedule this ahead of time to avoid delays in returning to work/studies.
  • Contact your program coordinator, faculty preceptor, or project leader about a debriefing session.  Clarify with your global health program coordinator or faculty preceptor if they have a specific reporting template for debriefing summaries.
  • Write a blog about your experience and post it on the Your Voice section on the home page of the Global Health website.  Contact ubcmed.gh@gmail.com  if you would like to make a post or contribute a photo or video essay for the global health website.