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  • Tips for students and immigrants traveling to Canada from India


    By




    The first thing to do is block your tickets (this implies no financial commitment). This can be done through travel agents. Make sure the Travel Agent is good and you get the best possible deal.


    • Block flights with many airlines/agencies. Put pressure on the agencies and get as much info as possible. Much before the flight call the airlines themselves and confirm your ticket (from India British Airways and AIR FRANCE offers the best package.Indicate whether you want Asian Vegetarian Meal (AVM), non-smoking section, etc

    • Cross-check everything the travel agent says

    • Avoid change of airline. A direct flight is the best. If change of airline can't be avoided, leave at least 4-6 hrs gap between the scheduled arrival of one flight and the scheduled departure of the connecting flight.

    • Baggage is usually safe with a single irline - change of airline sometimes leads to misplaced luggage. Some airlines don't take care of baggage transfer - you may have to personally carry it (check this while booking)



    Things to be done in advance

    Certain things have to be done in advance, i.e., as soon as you get your aid - much before the flight.

    • Learn driving

    • Learn to cook (or you will have a very bad time)

    • apply for bank loan (if necessary)

    • make your passport valid for 6 months more than your stay indicated in your admit letter make sure your passport is valid for 6 months atleast.

    • make outstation purchases (sweater, thermal underwear, cassettes, etc. - available/cheap in Delhi, Bombay, Ahmedabad, etc)

    • get medical checkup done

      • dental

      • fresh checkup, especially if you have a major ailment


      • Get prescriptions & medicines for all common ailments

      • get your eye-sight checked - get a new prescription. Buy atleast one extra pair of glasses.

      • tested for TB if possible (chest X-ray)

      • get requisite immunization done (especially MMR)


    • get cassettes recorded which you may like to take with you

    • write to UMISA giving your flight #, time & date of arrival; they may pick you up & give temporary accomodation if necessary

    • if you are very interested in any Indian magazine (Gult, Tamil, etc.) subscribe to them - you can subscribe to them after going to the Canada also.
    • note your/parent's bank A/c #



    Packing


    • Start your packing well in advance
    • Buy two good boxes - they should be able to withstand a lot of mishandling. They should be as large as possible within the size limitations (however most airlines are not very strict about baggage size). Put identification marks and labels both inside & outside the boxes (apart from this the airlines will also provide you with adhesive labels). Boxes with independent top & bottom are preferable.

    • Box specifications As an example the Air India economy class baggage specifications are given below. Note the specs. may be different for other countries/airlines.
      2 pieces of baggage with total linear dimension (l+b+h) not exceeding 270cm (106inches). Moreover the total linear dimension of each piece should not be over 158cm (62"). The weight of each bag should not exceed 32kg (70lb) [note: they are not particular about this]

    • Carry on baggage : In addition you can carry a bag with linear dimension not exceeding 115cm (45 inches) onboard (fits beneath the seat). For most other airlines the baggage specs are similar (confirm). If you are taking a break outside USA/Canada contact your travel agent or airlines for details.



    Things to be kept in the boxes


    • Copy of all certificates/documents (originals in hand baggage)
    • Important apping materials (SOP, reco etc)
    • necessary books/notebooks (some suggested books are - Clark's Tables, a good dictionary/thesaurus, a booklet for units conversion) [note: there should be no legal hassles taking Photo copies of books - but don't flaunt them to Americans/Canadian Profs]
    • Copy of address book/telephone book/diary
    • Some stationery and related items suggested (not absolutely necessary - just for the first few weeks) are : common items + rubber stamp with house address + airmail covers + few Indian razor blades for cutting work + screw driver
    • Indian postal stamps - for sending letters through someone coming to India
    • Medical history files
    • Gifts (suggested: rollable pictures, handicrafts, etc)
    • Non-technical books (fiction/religious). [note: second-hand story books are cheap in the US]
    • 1 pair leather chappals, 2 hawai chappals (+ extra straps)
    • soap (bath), toothbrushes (slightly costly here - 1 or 2 bucks) etc
    • Cassettes


    Clothes

    Usually clothes are machine washed once a week (laundramat) - hence one week supply of clothes (+ one week backup) is needed. Get all clothes little loose - clothes may shrink in machine wash & you will probably grow fatter.


    • 14-15 sets of undergarments, socks, handkerchiefs (Not necessary ! Good stuff available here & pretty cheap)
    • 5 sets of good shirts, pants
    • a good swimming trunk + few shorts
    • a tie + 1-2 belts
    • 3-6 ordinary towels (Turkish ones start stinking)
    • a bedsheet
    • lungies/dhotis/pajamas
    • thermal underwear (2-4)
    • extra woollen sweaters


    Note:


    • don't take Indian files (empty) or punching machines - filing system is different in the US (3 holes, A4)
    • don't take paper
    • don't take raincoats
    • don't buy Wallet but if u spot one which has room for lots of card grab it (wallet for carrying cards can be bought in Canada)
    • wear your shoes to save space in the box. If needed buy only leather shoes (other types of shoes are cheap here). For some weather conditions Indian leather shoes may crack.
    • stuff listed above - most of them are available pretty cheap in here (made in China). Exceptions are leather goods, formal wear. In a month or two you will be in a position to get anything you want (unless you are not on aid)



    Food stuffs

    Below are some food stuffs that may be taken :
  • 1 - 2.5 kg packets of Sambar Powder
  • 1 packet of Rasam Powder
  • 0.5 box of Masala powder
  • Pickles
  • tamarind paste
  • different dhals in small quantity for initial phase (not a must)
  • Indian instant coffee and tea
  • Elaichi, clove, cinnamon Note: most of these items are available in the Indian stores in the major cities. However you need to carry them for use in the first few days.
  • actually pickles are not allowed - but you can take them in solder-sealed tins. [students are usually not checked for these]
  • take all dry food stuff in sealed plastic packets


    Don't come loaded with foodstuffs as you may have (small) problems with the customs. Try to get "instant" stuff as people generally don't have much time for cooking in here .


    Vessels

    • big pressure pan (with spare handle, 3 safety valves, 2 weights, 1 base plate, 3 gaskets) [note: big pressure cooker may not be needed as Electric rice cooker can be bought in here ]
    • idli plates
    • dosai turner, rice server & other ladles
    • tongs
    • small bowls
    • rolling pin
    • knife
    • kadaie (optional)
    • cook book - . Non-stick kitchenware is cheap in here and you can buy a full set.


    Things to be kept in Hand Baggage


    • some medicines (including for air-sickness)
    • novel/mags/books for inflight reading
    • sweater
    • original important documents (admit letter, visa, tickets ...)
    • enough money (little cash, travellers' checks)
    • address book/phone book (Indian & US)
    • copies of your photo (passport size)
    • enlisted steps to be followed in case of emergency (accident, theft, etc)
    • things to survive for a week in case luggage gets misplaced (two sets of clothes, valuables like calci, addresses etc)


    Things to be kept on person


    • shorter extract of contact addresses - especially of people coming to pick you up.
    • receipt got along with travellers' checks - in case you lose the TC's


    Things to be left at home


    • List of addresses/phone numbers at which info about you can be obtained
    • one copy of all your important documents
    • a copy of all relevant parts of Medical History files
    • Arrange to collect/redirect mail from your room/hostel
    • Arrange to apply/collect/mail your transcripts (about 20 in number preferable)
    • Your tailoring measurements
    • a few blank signed papers - so that your parents can be authorized to look after anything on your behalf


    Things to be done in the last week before the flight


    • call up & find if there is any delay or change of schedule of the plane (inform the people coming to pick you up of any such change)
    • rest well - ready to face the long journey/jet lag
    • bid bye to all concerned


    On the day of the flight, in-flight & later


    • since it is going to be a long flight wear something comfortable (cotton dress + full hand shirt). Wear your shoes - inflight you can remove them (some airlines give inflight shoes - else relax in socks)
    • be at the airport 3-4 hours before flight departure
    • collect $20 at the airport (part of it in $1)
    • relax during flight, sleep as much as possible
    • for vegetarians - watch out before you eat - you may get non-veg even if you had asked for veg. Veg. food is generally bland - its/juice are good choices. Don't hesitate to ask questions.
    • once out of India be very careful (from sheer experience of seniors). Don't trust anyone. Don't hire a taxi (unless emergency) till you reach your destination. If required don't hesitate to spend money.
    • Don't hesitate to talk to people to ask questions usually they will answer all your queries properly .


    Port of entry procedures



    • once you are out of the plane go straight to the immigration counter - rush for them to beat the queue. It might take 0.5-1 hour here.
    • Keep your admit letter, passport, admission & aid letters ready. They might ask a few questions like - is this your first time in Canada ? Student ? ? Which Univ ?
    • They will attach a student authorisation letter to your visa.


    You are now in Canada !

    • then go to the baggage are to fetch your luggage. Pick up a cart (you get this at a machine for $1) to carry the bags. Then pick up your bags as they come out on the conveyor (suitable eye-catching labels help here). If you don't get your baggage inform the enquiry section - you may have to wait 0.5-1 hour here.
    • cart your baggage to nearby Customs.
    • If asked to open the baggage do so slowly - do not mess up the place.
    • If asked about the "podi"s tell them that they are "dried Indian spices" to make traditional Indian food like curry.
    • Note : In most cases you will NOT be asked to open your boxes at all & will be simply waved through.
    • call i) the people at ICS ii) dept. iii)Indian Students' iv) admissions office
    • Never leave your baggage unattended. Don't go out of the airport until somebody comes & picks you up.


    A few things of importance in after(arrival)life


    • Your first work is to meet the Foreign Students' Advisor in the International Center for Student (ICS). They keep a record of you (passport, visa details etc). When you leave (temporarily or permanently) you have to go there again.
    • Then do the things which you did when you entered the University get your Univ ID card get your Driver's Licence tax forms, etc some paperwork in the dept. meet the HOD/grad. student advisor/advisor register for classes


    Be happy now that your dream has come true !

    List of medicines recommended by a Doc.

    • Crocin tablets - 3 strips For fever, bodyaches, headache One tablet three times a day as necessary
    • Erythrocin 500mg tablets - 2 strips, One tablet twice a day when necessary, as advised
    • Sporadix 500mg capsules - 2 strips, One capsule twice a day when necessary, as advised
    • Actified tablets - 3 strips
    • Cosovil tablets - 2 strips, For common cold & cough. One tablet three times a day.
    • Avomin tablets - 1 strip - For air sickness. One tablet as necessary.
    • Lomotil tablets - 20
    • Digene tablets - 30 - For diarrhoea & stomach discomfort. One tablet of each three times a day.
    • Baralgam tablets - 2 strips - For abdominal colic pain, backache, etc One tablet every six hours as necessary.
    • Dorstal (?) tablets - 10 - For nausea & vomiting. One tablet three times a day.
    • Electral powder - 2 packets - One teaspoonful mixed with drinks to make up loss of electrolytes - after vomiting or diarrhoea.
    • Novalgin tablets - 2 strips - For headache & bodyaches. One tablet as necessary.
    • Stomatil tablets - 1 strip - For vertigo (giddiness) - One tablet three times a day as necessary till relieved.
    • Isogel (Glaxo) - 1 box - For constipation. - One teaspoonful in a little of water at bedtime.
    • Brufen 600mg tablets - 2 strips - For arthritic joint pains.- One tablet three times a day after food.
    • Avil tablets - 1 strip - For allergy. - One tablet as necessary.
    • Sepmax tablets - 1 strip - For sore-throat.- One tablet twice a day after food, till relieved. NOT TO BE TAKEN WHEN ONE IS ALLERGIC TO SULFA DRUGS.
    • Relaxyl ointment - 1 tube - To be applied as a pain balm.
    • Band Aids assorted - 12
    • Soframycin skin ointment - 1 tube

    (the above list seems to have been made out for a guy who is a proper hypochondriac!)

    True that medicines are relatively very expensive in Canada, but you will also tend to fall ill less frequently (clean drinking water, etc). Get all the medicines prescribed above if you must, but atleast get them in much smaller quantities.

    Thanks.
     


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