International Elective Planning Checklist for Residents

What to do before you go

Are you preparing for an international elective? Make sure that you go over our International elective planning checklist below. We've laid it out in a step-by-step process to ensure your experience is an easy one.

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Printer friendly version of the International Elective Planning Checklist [PDF - 458kB]

International Elective Planning Checklist for Residents

1 Year Ahead

  • Start your research on your International Elective
  • Inform your Program Director about your intentions to complete an International Elective
  • Search for a faculty mentor to discuss your specific learning objectives
  • Review the Policy on Resident Education Abroad [PDF - 133kB] in addition to your department policy on International Electives
  • Check the Canadian travel advisory website

6 Months Ahead

  • Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months AFTER your return date.  If not, apply for a new passport.

3 Months Ahead

  • Check with the country organization or preceptor on any Visa process
  • Check with the High Commission on specific Visa requirements
  • Start searching for flights including trip cancellation cost
  • Visit a travel health clinic to arrange your vaccinations and prophylaxis
  • Visit your dentist and family physician to refill regular prescriptions if necessary
  • Contact a malpractice insurance broker - Do not rely on your provincial health insurance plan (Contact for a suggested list of brokers.)
  • Request access to the Global Health Office's Online Pre-Departure Training Modules. Register with the Global Health Office

2 Months Ahead

  • Check the Canadian travel advisory website
  • Book your plane ticket(s). We recommend that you use a travel agent who may assist you in the case of missed flights or other travel disruptions
  • Arrange for payment of your bills during your absence
  • Finalize any shift swaps and verify your schedule

1 Month Ahead

  • Complete the mandatory Global Health Office Online Pre-Departure Training Modules.  Please register with the Global Health Office
  • Set up an email account that is accessible worldwide
  • Contact your bank and provide your dates abroad including your flight route/stopovers
  • Contact your credit card company and request for them to monitor daily activities
  • Inform the Global Health Office about your travel plans at
  • Call your cell phone provide to inquire about roaming fees or unlocked your device
  • Create a Skype or Viber account for easy communication with friends and family while abroad
  • Finalize your travel plans with your host preceptor including pick-up at airport if possible
  • Email yourself scans of important travel documents
  • Backup your hard drive if traveling with your laptop
  • Make copies of your medical school diploma and medical license to take along
  • Register with the Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA)
  • Complete the Emergency Contact Form with The International Centre
  • Record Dalhousie's Emergency Contact Number (call collect 24Hrs: +1.902.494.1888)
  • Record DFAIT emergency contact # for emergency situations (call collect +1.613.996.885)
  • Give copies of your travel documents, including passports and placement details, to family/friends

Week of Departure

  • Pack your bags (travel light if possible)
  • Empty your refrigerator of perishables
  • Get cash - request the teller to provide you with the newest bills
  • Check your cell phone, laptop and camera batteries
  • Leave your house keys with family/friends
  • Set-up an out-of-country reply on your email account(s)

24 Hours Ahead

  • Check weight restrictions and weigh your luggage
  • Take out half of what you have packed and leave it at home!
  • Arrange a drive to the airport
  • Print your boarding pass
  • Lock all your windows and doors
  • Take your anti-malaria as prescribed

Bon Voyage!