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Pre-departure Orientation. Health and Safety Abroad. International Student Exchange Office, University of Toronto. Pre-departure Orientation. Introduction. Who We Are Objectives of Orientation Goals of Going Overseas. Pre-departure Orientation. Introduction. Who We Are ISXO

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Pre-departure Orientation

Health and Safety Abroad

International Student Exchange Office,

University of Toronto


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Pre-departure Orientation

Introduction

  • Who We Are

  • Objectives of Orientation

  • Goals of Going Overseas


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Pre-departure Orientation

Introduction

  • Who We Are

    • ISXO

    • Safety Abroad Advisor

    • Student expectations of workshop


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Pre-departure Orientation

Introduction

  • Objectives of Orientation

    • Legal responsibility

    • Share in health and safety risk assessment

    • Students participate fully in risk management


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Pre-departure Orientation

Introduction— Shared Responsibility

University

Choose sites carefully; provide info regarding risk; provide on-going support

Evaluate risk; make decisions regarding participation; employ sound safety practices; report problems

Students


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Pre-departure Orientation

Getting There

  • Waivers

  • Registering on-line

  • Budget and Money Issues

  • Health Issues

  • Travel Documents


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Pre-departure Orientation

Getting There

  • Waivers

    • Participation is optional; waivers are mandatory

    • Take all waivers, T.O.P. home and read carefully

    • Contact us if you have any concerns

    • Bring copy of DFAIT country specific advisory with you when you return health & safety form

    • Emergency Info will be forwarded to DFAIT and shared with UofT offices as needed


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Pre-departure Orientation

Registering On-Line


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Pre-departure Orientation

Registering On-Line


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Pre-departure Orientation

Registering On-Line


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Pre-departure Orientation

Getting There– Preparing To Go

  • Research prior to going overseas can minimize problems overseas

    • PDO is general review; up to you to do the research on specifics

    • FAC has website containing information regarding health and safety for over 220 travel destinations http://voyage.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/destinations/menu_e.htm

    • ISC Work/ Study Abroad Library has books, magazines related to cross-culture travel


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Pre-departure Orientation

Getting There– Money Issues

  • Financing Your Sojourn

    • Bursary Help

    • OSAP

      • Power of Attorney

    • Scholarships

    • Fundraising

    • TALK TO STUDENTS CURRENTLY LIVINGIN HOST AREA


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Pre-departure Orientation

Getting There– Money Issues

  • Accessing Money

    • Consider all options that are available to you

    • Plan on at least two backup plans for accessing money

    • Bring (if possible) local currency

    • Have access to an emergency fund


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Pre-departure Orientation

Getting There– Money Issues


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Pre-departure Orientation

Getting There– Money Issues

  • Safety Tips

    • Avoid unregulated money vendors

    • Fanny Packs

    • Money Belts

    • Carry Small Currency (separate from money belt)

    • The ‘Fake Wallet’

    • Don’t leave your wallet with a stranger! (Even another Canadian)

    • If available, store valuables in hotel safe


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Pre-departure Orientation

Getting There– Health Issues

  • OHIP Extension

    • Required for students planning on being outside Ontario for more then 153 days in a 12 month period

    • Students may apply for Continuous OHIP for work, study and vacation (limits apply)

    • Extension required for many supplementary health plans


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Pre-departure Orientation

Getting There– Health Issues

  • Mandatory Supplementary Health Insurance

    • Compare various policies

    • Include coverage for pre-existing medical conditions and for all aspects of your sojourn

    • Easy to extend and make claims

    • War, SARS

    • Know How To Use Insurance


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Pre-departure Orientation

Getting There– Health Issues

  • Mandatory Supplementary Health Insurance

    • Repatriation of remains

    • Emergency room expenses

    • Med-Evac

    • Deductibles

    • Up-front coverage


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Pre-departure Orientation

Getting There– Health Issues

  • Mandatory Supplementary Health Insurance

    • IT IS UP TO YOU TO DECIDE WHAT IS SUFFICIENT HEALTH INSURANCE

    • Insurance may not cover all aspects (eg. long-term disability, natural disasters)

    • U of T is NOT liable for any limitations in insurance


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Pre-departure Orientation

Getting There– Health Issues

  • Immunization and Travel Care

    • Visit all health (mental/ physical) care providers that are currently providing you care

    • Discuss accessing medical info while away

    • Evaluate any medical conditions and how they might affect trip

    • Consult with travel clinic well in advance of travel

    • Visit FAC website for additional information


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Pre-departure Orientation

Getting There– Health Issues

  • For detailed travel health advice, visit a Travel Clinic

    • Appointment for UofT Travel Clinic should be made 3 months in advance (more for some destinations)

    • Fees waived with ISXO letter

    • Costs for immunizations can vary widely


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Pre-departure Orientation

Getting There– Travel Documents

  • Passport

    • Most destinations require passport valid 6 months beyond the expected date of return

    • For Canadian passport application, visit www.ppt.gc.ca

    • Make copies of passport photo and ID page; consider making electronic copy and emailing it to yourself

    • Tape copy to inside of all luggage


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Pre-departure Orientation

Getting There– Travel Documents

  • Visa

    • Contact Consulate of host country for details concerning visa

    • Obtaining correct documentation to work/ study is the full responsibility of the participant

    • Understand what your visa entitles you to do


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Pre-departure Orientation

Getting There– Travel Documents

  • Dual Citizenship/ National of Host Country

    • Having citizenship of host country does not necessarily mean that you can work/ study in that country

    • Travelling to a country to which you are either citizen or considered a national may include additional obligations such as military duty, special tax

    • Travel on Canadian passport


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Pre-departure Orientation

Getting There– Travel Documents

  • Permanent Resident

    • Landed residents residing outside of Canada run the risk of losing permanent resident status

    • Apply for a Returning Residence Permit in advance of departure


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Pre-departure Orientation

Getting There– Travel Documents

  • Preparing documents for travel

    • Make copies of all essential documents

      • Passport, visa

      • Prescriptions (medical, eye wear)

      • Introductory letters

      • Important numbers

      • Travellers cheques

    • Leave copy at home and have duplicates with you


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Pre-departure Orientation

Getting There– Emergency Contact

  • Emergency Contact

    • Contact should clearly understand and agree to responsibilities

    • Contact should be someone you trust with financial/ personal information

    • Contact should be good in emergency situations

    • Leave copies of important documents and travel itinerary

    • Emergency contact should be your contact back home


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Pre-departure Orientation

Getting There– Packing

  • Luggage

    • Pack lightly

    • Carry-on luggage kept to minimum

    • If needed, consider shipping items in advance

    • Separate essential belongings in the event that one piece of luggage is stolen

    • All luggage should be carried keepingone hand free


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Pre-departure Orientation

Getting There– Packing

  • Carrying Medicine

    • Keep all medicine in original containers

    • Ensure that all medicine is legal in country that you are traveling to

    • Bring copy of prescription and if possible also bring doctor’s note

    • If you need to carry syringe bring doctor’s certificate


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Pre-departure Orientation

Getting There– Packing

  • What to Pack

    • Mosquito repellent, sun tan lotion

    • Items from home

    • Small gifts/ tokens

    • Basic medical kit

    • Conservative clothes that match the culture

    • PRE-DEPARTURE MANUAL


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Pre-departure Orientation

Getting There– Packing

  • What NOT to Pack

    • Things of value (monetary or sentimental) that you cannot afford to lose

    • Flashy clothes items, items that mark you as a tourist

    • Clothes that are too casual, also indicating that you’re a tourist!


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Pre-departure Orientation

Preparing for Life Overseas

  • Life as Ambassador

  • Researching Host Culture

  • Observing Local Laws

  • Drugs

  • Understanding Culture


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Pre-departure Orientation

Preparing for Life Overseas

  • Life as Ambassador

    • Knowledge of Canadian culture

    • Familiarity of host culture

    • U of T Code of Student Conduct


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Pre-departure Orientation

Preparing for Life Overseas

  • Researching Host Culture

    • Do classes start on time?

    • How formal are the relations between professors and students?

    • What is an appropriate gift?

    • How far apart do people generally stand? Does it change between persons of opposite gender?


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Pre-departure Orientation

Preparing for Life Overseas

  • Researching Host Culture

    • Try to familiarize yourself with the food before leaving

    • Know dining customs (Do you finish your plate or not)


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Pre-departure Orientation

Preparing for Life Overseas

  • Researching Host Culture

    • Academic or work environment

      • ISC library

      • Talk to past participants

    • Flora and Fauna

      • Fear of animals more of a risk then actual risk

      • Take local warnings seriously!


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Pre-departure Orientation

Preparing for Life Overseas

  • Observing Local Laws

    • You are subject to the laws of your host country

    • Caution about how and what information you communicate; never admit wrong doing or sign anything

    • Right to access Consular Representative; request appropriately

    • Canadian Consulate will keep all information in strict confidence


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Pre-departure Orientation

Preparing for Life Overseas

  • Most tourists are arrested for-

    • Drug Violation

    • Possession of Firearms

    • Photography

    • Purchasing Antiques


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Pre-departure Orientation

Preparing for Life Overseas

  • Drugs

    • Rules governing drugs may differ for locals and tourists

    • Drugs available in other countries may be stronger then what you are used to; may be more dangerous

    • Careful while crossing border


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Pre-departure Orientation

Preparing for Life Overseas

  • Sex and Dating

    • Bring condoms with you!

    • Remember that etiquette surrounding gender can be completely different from what you are used to

    • HIV/ AIDS is more prevalent in many countries

      • Safe sex practices reduces chance of infection

      • If you are required to have HIV test, be prepared


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Pre-departure Orientation

Preparing for Life Overseas– Understanding Culture

“Culture is Communication”-- Edward Hall

  • Direct versus Indirect

  • Reading between the lines

  • Personal space


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Pre-departure Orientation

Challenges Overseas

  • Culture Shock

  • Culture Clash

  • Issues of Diversity

  • Opportunistic Crime

  • Sexual Harassment

  • Traffic Accidents

  • Site Specifics


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Pre-departure Orientation

Challenges Overseas– Culture Shock

  • 4 Stages

    • Euphoria

    • Anxiety

    • Rejection

    • Adjustment


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Pre-departure Orientation

Challenges Overseas– When Culture’s Clash

“One barely has time to participate in the host society and not nearly enough time to become a prophetic voice for social change.”

--Dr. Brian Harley (Transitions Abroad, Jan/ Feb 2001 vol. xxiv, No. 4)


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Pre-departure Orientation

Challenges Overseas– Stress

  • Common signs of stress feelings of loneliness, sadness, feelings of isolation and exhibiting certain behaviour such as excessive drinking, smoking

  • Learn ways to manage stress

    • Explore your new home

    • Become involved

    • Adopt techniques used at home for overseas

    • Maintain a sense of humour!


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Pre-departure Orientation

Challenges Overseas— Stress

  • Leaving Loved Ones Behind

    • Arrange to keep in touch with friends and family at home

    • Be careful not to live in two places at once


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Pre-departure Orientation

Challenges Overseas—Diversity

  • Race and Ethnicity

    • Dealing with racism abroad

      • Assumptions about what makes a “Canadian”

      • Fitting into a culture of similar heritage

      • Being a visible minority for the first time

    • Absence of multiculturalism


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Pre-departure Orientation

Challenges Overseas—Diversity

  • Gender Conflict

    • Understand customary etiquette between genders

    • Consider how you will deal with aggressive situations

    • When in a new area, monitor to see if other women are around

    • If confronted with verbal hostility, walk within hearing range of elderly/ local women


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Pre-departure Orientation

Challenges Overseas—Diversity

  • Queer Issues

    • Coming Out for the first time

    • Coming out again

    • Know the legal/ social implications of homosexuality

    • Consider how you will deal with homophobia


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Pre-departure Orientation

Challenges Overseas

  • Opportunistic Crime

    • Foreigners tend to be at greater risk to many opportunistic crimes; criminals simply have more opportunity to commit crimes against travellers

    • Be cautious particularly in crowded and tourist areas

    • Act confidently; avoid being over confident

    • Beware false sense of anonymity or belonging

    • U of T does cover lost of students personal property


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Pre-departure Orientation

Challenges Overseas

  • Sexual Harassment

    • Sexual harassment is a source of stress for many travellers

    • Cultural sensitivity is important, however, should not replace common sense, gut reaction or ability to define personal boundaries

    • Concept of male/ female friendship differs from culture to culture

    • Deeper meaning in (mis)communication


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Pre-departure Orientation

Challenges– Vehicle Accidents

  • Over 1 million people die in road crashes per year

  • Road crashes cost developing countries twice what they receive in developmental assistance

  • Avoid driving at night, in unsafe buses or when drivers appear over-fatigued or intoxicated


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Pre-departure Orientation

Challenges

  • Food and Drink

    • Don’t cut costs by cutting back on nutrition

    • Take advantage of local foods

    • Consider any dietary needs in advance (eg. vegetarian, kosher foods)

    • If allergic to certain foods, know how to communicate this to locals


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Pre-departure Orientation

Challenges

  • Food and Drink– hygiene and contamination

    • Choose food that have been freshly cooked or boiled, peeled in front of you, or sealed

    • “Western Food” often not what is expected

    • Make sure plates are washed with detergent, rinsed in clean water. Otherwise rinse with alcohol swab and flame cutlery with candle

    • Avoid salads, ice, food set out for too long

    • Food handled by dirty fingers


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Pre-departure Orientation

Challenges

  • Food and Drink– hygiene and contamination

    • Don’t drink the water

    • Don’t eat ice

    • Don’t eat uncooked food washed with water

    • Don’t eat use bottled water if the cap was not secure

    • Do bring your own water purifier/ tablets! (Cut down on plastic waste)


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Pre-departure Orientation

Challenges - Climate

  • Know what type of climate to expect

  • Warm climate

    • Protect yourself from sun!

    • Drink lots of water and if necessary add salt to your diet

    • Be aware of fungal infection such as athlete’s foot


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Pre-departure Orientation

Challenges

  • Site Specifics

    • Observe the customs of the locals but check in with other travellers

    • Avoid swimming in unmarked areas

    • Research! (www.lonelyplanet.com/postcards)


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Pre-departure Orientation

When Things Go Wrong

  • Help While You Are Away

  • Staying in Touch

  • What to do in an Emergency

  • Emergency U of T Card


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Pre-departure Orientation

When Things Go Wrong

  • Foreign Affairs Canada

    • Register prior to going abroad

    • Limited support available to students not travelling under Canadian passport

    • Students travellling under other passport should research what support is available to them from their Consulate


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Pre-departure Orientation

When Things Go Wrong

  • Department of Foreign Affairs can--

    • Contact your relatives for emergency funds

    • Help you during emergencies such as natural disasters or civil and military uprisings

    • Direct you to sources of information regarding local laws, regulations, cultural customs


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Pre-departure Orientation

When Things Go Wrong

  • Department of Foreign Affairs can--

    • Assist with medical emergencies

    • Replace passports

    • If arrested, they can try to ensure equitable treatment under local law

    • Notify your next of kin regarding accident or death

    • Locate missing persons


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Pre-departure Orientation

When Things Go Wrong

  • Department of Foreign Affairs cannot-

    • Make travel arrangements

    • Transfer of funds or paying local bills

    • Storing or searching of personal items

    • Translating or interpreting information

    • Visas for other countries local permits or licenses


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Pre-departure Orientation

When Things Go Wrong—U of T Emergency Card


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Pre-departure Orientation

When Things Go Wrong

  • University Emergency Support System

    • Contact University 24/7 in an emergency

    • Call in cases of critical incidents such as serious injury or threat of injury, sexual assault, arrest

    • Regional disaster– call and let us know that you are okay!

    • Prepare to leave contact information so that staff member can call you back (may take up to 24 hours)


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Pre-departure Orientation

When Things Go Wrong

  • Staying In Touch

    • Participants are obliged to stay in touch

    • Check utoronto Email account

    • In event of regional emergency, report back to exchange office/ UofT regarding status


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Pre-departure Orientation

When Things Go Wrong—On-line Information

Go Global Guide

Program Sponsor Manual

Workshops & Pre-departure for Students

Workshops for Staff

Database


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Pre-departure Orientation

Returning Home

  • Re-entry Shock

  • Using Your International Experience


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Pre-departure Orientation

Returning Home

  • Re-entry Shock

    • Euphoria

    • Anxiety

    • Adjustment


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Pre-departure Orientation

Returning Home

  • Using Your International Experience

    • Cross-cultural skills, gaining a global perspective

    • Visit Career Centre to learn how to highlight experience in resume

    • Join international organizations

    • Volunteer for ISC Buddy Program


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For more information:

http://www.utoronto.ca/safety.abroad

Holly Luffman

Safety Abroad Advisor, University of Toronto

[email protected]


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