Travelling to a new country for an internship and to live there for a while is tough but definitely a very rewarding experience. Everything that wll be thrown your way will be different – from the food, the culture, even the modes of transportation! It will help you become more independent, resourceful, and not be afraid to ask for help when needed. It also makes you appreciate and miss thing things you take for granted about your own country. Here are 10 things I recommend you take to ease your transition :
1. Tissue Paper:
Canadians are pretty spoiled with the availability of toilet paper and paper towels everywhere. It is not the case in most countries, so taking some tissue paper while travelling is a must. It will be useful in the most stressful situations, such as cleaning up spills or wiping your nose.
2. Souvenirs from your home country:
When you are in your new country, you will be getting lots of help from the locals. What better way to express your gratitude than to share something from your own country with them?
3. Camera (or a device with a decent built-in camera):
How else are you going to capture all the new sights and memories? Smartphones now come with powerful cameras with the ability to share photos on social media with one click. Be careful to keep it in a secure location, so it doesn’t get stolen.
4. Clothing suitable for the climate and culture:
Research the climate and cultural preferences when packing. Bringing the right clothes will make you feel comfortable in the climate and your surroundings. It is also important to be respectful of the cultural norms when visiting your new country. After all, you are the ambassador of your home country when abroad.
5. Photocopies of your IDs, passport, travel insurance and other important documents:
One of the worst things that can happen on your travels is losing your passport or other identification. Having a copy of them will speed up the time needed to replace them. Also, you have less chance of losing the real thing when you carry the copy on a daily basis.
6. Currency of the country you are visiting:
Get some before you get on the plane or at the very least, before you leave the airport at the destination. There will be many foreign currency exchanges at the major airports. When you are outside the airport, the only currency accepted would probably be the local currency.
7. Non-perishable snacks or food items:
When you go to a new country, the food may be very different from what you are used to. Each culture will have its own preferred taste, whether it be sweet, salty or spicy. Carrying something from home will give you a break from the new food and help abate homesickness. Suggestions: instant soup mixes, tea, instant drink mixes, candy.
8. Personal care products:
The products you are used to using at home are probably not available in your new country. Even if you use an international brand, they offer different products in each country, catering to its unique needs and preferences. It is best to bring some of your own until you familiarize yourself with the available products or where to get foreign goods. If you have sensitive skin, you should bring enough to last for your entire stay.
9. Travel book and maps(or internet research of the place you’re going ):
One of the things I wish I did was to research more places that I would like to explore. As a result, I did not spend the last two weekends exploring as much as I would like. If you are tight on time before you leave, pick out a few places to start. Once you arrive, you can research more places and ask the locals for recommendations.
10. Basic language dictionary:
I overestimated the amount of English that people speak in Pune. Indians with education will speak at least some English, but many small store owners and vendors will not. The most challenging experience has been to communicate my location to my rickshaw driver. Thank goodness I have been able to rely on my co-workers and AIESEC buddy to help me. If you don’t have local help, it’s definitely best to learn some basic phrases before you go. How else are you going to ask for basic needs such as water or food?
Jenny Chan recently joined our Content Team. She is an alumnus of University of Victoria, Canada.
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