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Pre‑Departure Checklist


The Pre-departure course will leave you with a list of things to take care of before you leave. Here are a few items that are discussed:

Pre-Departure Checklist

1. Apply to your host university

If you're applying to a university-wide exchange program or study abroad, you apply through the International Centre

If you are applying to a departmental exchange or study abroad, please contact the department directly for information on how to apply. 

2. Meet with an academic advisor

You will need to meet with an academic advisor to obtain course approval and signatures.

If you are a student participating in a University-Wide exchange or study abroad program through the International Centre, please complete a Learning Agreement. This will also need to be signed off in person by the Study Abroad and Exchange Advisor at the International Centre.

If you are a student participating in a departmental exchange program, please complete a Letter of Permission form.


3. Arrange out-of-country health insurance in addition to your existing plan

We expect Dalhousie students to provide their own international health insurance for their period of study or work abroad. Check to see if you have extra health insurance through your parents, spouse, or another private plan. Talk with your insurance representative to find out exactly how this policy covers a stay outside Canada, and confirm that the policy is valid for the entire visit abroad.

Provincial health plans

Provincial health plans provide minimal health coverage outside Canada. Contact the Department or Ministry of Health in your home province, as each province has different health insurance regulations.

  • Make sure your provincial health insurance is current. Many supplemental insurance plans require a valid health card.

  • Notify the department or ministry of your plans to study/work abroad. If you fail to contact them to inform them of the period you'll be outside Canada, your provincial coverage could be cancelled. This could invalidate your extra insurance.

Dalhousie insurance coverage

You may have travel medical insurance through your student union. Confirm that you have coverage, request a policy and compare it with another plan to see if you feel you have a reasonable amount of coverage. If not, purchase an additional plan.

4. Apply for a passport (if you already have one, check the expiration date)

Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months beyond your planned return date. 

5. Update your immunizations for the countries you will be visiting

Plan to meet with a travel health clinic well before your planned departure date to discuss and receive immunizations appropriate to your destination. 

To learn more about immunizations for your desired country, visit the Public Health Agency of Canada webpage

6. Apply for visa/student permit

Once your receive your letter of acceptance from your host university or your letter of invitation from your employer or volunteer organization, contact the embassy or high commission of your host country to learn about a study permit or visa.

You are responsible for acquiring any permit or visa you need to attend your exchange. Provide the foreign embassy the documentation it needs to give you a study permit or visa in the host country. Each country will have different requirements. Visa applications can take 4–6 months.

7. Book your flight

After confirmation of your acceptance from the host university is received, you can book your flight to your destination country. 

You should plan to arrive on a weekday, during business hours. 

8. Arrange for power of attorney

Arrange to legally provide power of attorney to someone you trust—usually a family member. This will allow them do things on your behalf such as make decisions, do banking, or sign documents while you're out of the country.