Students Pre-departure Checklist

1. CHOOSING YOUR ELECTIVE / PLACEMENT

Years 1 to 4: There are a number of global electives already established that you may wish to participate in, or you may choose to set up your own.  Here are some suggested resources for finding elective opportunities: 

2. ELECTIVE PROTOCOLS

YEAR 3 & 4: Look at the Faculty of Medicine Year 3/4 elective guidelines on the MEDICOL website (under the Year 3/4 Electives tab) for how to plan a non-clinical or clinical elective.

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.
  • 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.
  • 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.Email yourself an electronic copy.
  • 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.
  • 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

  • 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.
  • 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 outsideCanada.
  • A UBC Emergency Wallet Card is available for students. This card will provide you with a convenient way to locate UBC’s emergency contact number and important consulate and travel insurance information.
  • 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 WHILE IN COUNTRY

  • Determine what forms of communication will be available to you in your host country (email, phone service). 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

  • You must complete the UBC Pre-Departure Training Module, mandatory for all UBC students, residents and physicians participating in global health work.
  • The UBC Pre-Departure Training Module must be completed no later than 3 weeks before departure date.
  • You must also complete any additional training as required by your 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/school.
  • Contact your program coordinator, faculty preceptor, or project leader about a debriefing session.
  • 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.