Rule one for travelers – keep safe. That doesn't mean don't take any risks. Keep safe means thinking about what you are going to be doing, having the appropriate clothes or tools, weighing the possibilities for injury or getting lost, exploring ways to mitigate risk, planning ahead, going in groups, being fully engaged in the present, following the laws of the land, sharing information with fellow travelers, thinking twice when your gut tells you something might be risky, and saying no to some opportunities. In short, it means being thoughtful about what you are considering doing and being mindful while you are doing it.
Smart travelers do lots of research about where they are travelling to insure they are aware of the potential risks they might encounter. You are advised to considerwhere you are planning to travel and read about the potential risks involved. Here are some key resources to review.
The Government of Canada's Travel and Tourism page provides country information for Canadians travelling abroad. This site contains information on each country's culture, history, geography, economy, government, and current political situation.
Check travel warnings which recommend Canadian citizens defer travel to a country because of dangerous conditions. The public announcements section of this page provides fast-breaking information about relatively short-term conditions that may pose risks to the security of travelers. North Island College considers any travel at risk if the coding on the Travel and Tourism website is posted at Avoid non-essential travel and Avoid all travel. The category Exercise a high degree of caution causes the College to ensure the supervising department has taken all appropriate measure to ensure your safety.
Other useful sites to explore for travel safety information include the following.
- Health Canada contains current information on health, inoculations, and health notices
for conditions in countries throughout the world.
- Foreign and Commonwealth Office provides information from the British perspective
on world news, travel information and cautions.
- The World Factbook provides information on the history, people, government, economy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 266 world entities.
As you prepare for your travels outside of Canada you should think about your personal safety. As you would in many areas here in Canada, you should continue to use care and caution while travelling abroad.
Remember, ignorance is not an excuse! Students participating in a study abroad program are expected to be familiar with and follow the laws of the host country as well as any other countries the student may be visiting. Failure to do so could have very serious legal implications including possible prison sentences. Students being charged with an offence should contact the Canadian Embassy immediately; however, they should not expect any benefits from the Canadian government if they have broken a local national law.
You may want to explore the types of consular services available from the Canadian government.
While NIC attempts to ensure its students are not placed or travelling where racism and homophobia are evident or rife, we do recognize that in some cultures and some countries one or all of the above may be an issue. Prepare for your travels by thoroughly researching your host country and region. Once away, if you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation involving some form of harassment, please contact the international office of your host institution and/or contact OGE for possible guidance and assistance If you feel unsafe and can't find help, contacting the Canadian Embassy or consulate is also a consideration.
Tips for Travelling Safely
- As a part of your travel preparation, familiarize yourself with any trouble spots and/or potential conflicts in the countries you plan to visit. Be aware of current events while you are away. Visit the Department of Foreign Affairs website.
- Protect your valuables from pickpockets by remaining alert and cautious. Conceal your valuables in a money belt or neck-safe under your clothing while traveling. Leave your passport and airline ticket in a hotel safe (at reception or in your room) and carry a copy of these with you when you are out for the day.
- Don’t carry large amounts of cash. Use bank machines, during the day, in highly visible places to get smaller amounts of cash. Change small amounts of traveler cheques at a bank or respected money changer.
- Do not leave your luggage unattended at any time. Do not agree to carry or check any luggage or other items for anyone.
- If you are looking for a taxi, official taxi stops are generally located outside airports, train and bus stations. If you find a good driver, get his or her card so you can call next time you need a taxi.
- Do not impair your judgment by consuming alcohol or by using drugs.
- Avoid traveling or going out alone whenever possible.
- Do not walk alone at night or in remote and unfamiliar places. Stay near busy and well-lit areas.
- Avoid demonstrations. What appears to be a peaceful demonstration can suddenly change into a dangerous situation and you can become caught up in an unwanted situation.
- If you travel alone while in country, leave your travel itinerary, where you are going and when you expect to return, with the international office of the host institution and with a friend in country. Keep your family back home aware of your travel plans.
- If your Self Assessment (as part of your application) identified any issues of concern, ensure you have planned for them.
- Final word of advice – keep your eyes open. Use your cultural intelligence to anticipate problems and then avoid them.
We would recommend that you also take the time to read through the document Medical Matters.
Questions? Contact the Office of Global Engagement with your study abroad questions. T: 1-250-334-5033 or firstname.lastname@example.org