Individual Travel Abroad
If you are traveling alone or without faculty present, you are responsible for making decisions if you encounter a problem or emergency.
Each Douglas College student engaging in a study abroad program will be asked to complete an emergency contact information form and to register with Canadian Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada.
Make sure to fill out the emergency info section of your passport. Do not list someone who will be traveling with you as an emergency contact. Be sure that a parent or emergency contact also has a valid passport in case of an emergency, as they should be prepared to get to your foreign location in less than 24 hours if necessary.
Become familiar with the basic laws and customs of the country you plan to visit before you travel. Do not assume that because some activities and behaviours are legal in Canada they are legal everywhere. Remember, while in a foreign country, you are subject to its laws.
In an emergency you should be prepared to do the following:
- Seek medical attention or if you are unable to, ask someone to assist you.
- If you are an exchange student, involved in a work/learn program, or taking a semester abroad you will likely be involved with a local institution or organization which is partnered with Douglas College.
Involve this institution/organization as early as possible in the emergency and they will contact and work with Douglas College on assessing your situation, informing your emergency contact, and making appropriate arrangements.
- You may have to make a police report. Legal systems differ so ask the partner institution/organization for advice and assistance.
- If you are arrested you are subject to the laws of that country and may not have the same rights that you have in Canada. Notify the partner institution/organization of your situation. They will notify Douglas College and notify the Canadian Consulate in your location. Douglas College will notify your emergency contact.
Douglas College and the partner institution/organization can provide general information to your emergency contact about your situation, but will not provide legal representation, nor will they cover any legal costs. It is up to you and your emergency contact, working with the local Canadian Consulate to arrange for your legal representation.
- If a student dies abroad, the partner institution/organization will notify Douglas College of the situation. Douglas College will inform your emergency contact who will work with your insurance provider to make the necessary arrangements.
If you are participating in any study abroad activity, ensure your emergency contact person has a copy of your travel insurance policy.
A situational emergency can have natural or man-made causes, and can happen quickly or can evolve over time. In some cases there is forewarning of a possible event such as a volatile election or uprising, rising water/flood.
In these cases, it would be wise to take appropriate precautions as soon as possible. Your plan could include staying off the streets, or leaving the area before the situation escalates to the point where the location will be difficult to leave.
Avoid public demonstrations, even peaceful ones. If there should be any social or political unrest, don’t get involved. If you can, check travel advisories for your location at the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada web site and follow their advice.
If you are caught in a sudden emergency situation, get to a safe location quickly. Once you are safe, try to contact the partner institution/organization where you are studying or working so they can contact Douglas College.
Douglas College will then notify your emergency contact, as well as Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada regarding your situation. All Douglas College students must register with Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada before they depart.
The local Canadian Consulate will use this information and the information on your current situation (provided by Douglas College) to contact you should an evacuation occur.
Try to stay calm and follow the instructions of the partner institution/organization and the local Canadian Consulate. If you are able to call home, inform your family about your current level of safety and ask them to contact Douglas College International for details.