International Preparation: Part 1

As I mentioned several blogs posts ago and as plastered all over my website, I am preparing to move to Bogòta, Colombia to complete my business degree for the year 2017. That’s 12 months living in another continent, how wild! And since I will be busy throughout the fall prior to my departure with classes, work and extracurriculars, I’ve decided to plan and prepare the bulk of my trip throughout these summer months.
One thing I’ve begun to notice the more I research about living and studying in another country, the more I learn that there is an incredible amount of information I need to do and a growing to-do list of things I need to get done. Stuff that as a Canadian, I wouldn’t even think of!

Here is my current to-do list:

1. Establish a Budget
If travelling was free, you would probably never see me again. And safe to say the majority of the worlds population would probably agree with me. Travelling to another country is expensive. From paying for flights, to accommodations, food and drinks, souvenirs, it definitely adds up. Not to mention the gear you need to purchase for your travels! I’ve become a super organizer and created an Excel document to track each and every pay check this summer (including random acts of babysitting) along with all my tips (pro of working in the restaurant industry) to track how much I’m earning, resulting in how much I can spend. So far, I’ve budgeted for 3 core items: A backpack, hiking boots and a rain jacket. Essentials for the backpacking life-style.

2. Get Shots
From living in Canada all my life and having no experience travelling to exotic destinations before, the thought of requiring vaccines for travel is both new and bizarre to me but I completely understand the purpose. Since I’ll be living in Bogota, but travelling throughout South America, I’ve discovered I’m going to need a handful of vaccines. Literally though, I’m going to need to get 5 shots. Thankfully, as a kid growing up with a severe peanut allergy carrying around an epi-pen, needles do not scare me!

3. Look At a Map
This includes looking at where you are staying and where you want travel. It’s been determined that I absolutely must visit Cartagena in the north of Colombia, Machu Pichu, trek the Inca Trail, come face to face with penguins and stand at latitude zero. I’ve also taken the time to learn about the climate of the various countries I wish to travel to, ensuring I have appropriate gear packed. Oh and lucky me, my incredible boyfriend will be travelling down to visit me to embark on a backpacking adventure together between semesters.

4. Renew Passport
Since my passport would be expiring while on exchange, I renewed it (today actually) to ensure that you know, I can at least come back to Canada eventually.

5. Utilize Network
By being in an international program, I have access to a large alumni base that have studied abroad. Therefore I’ve been in contact with many different people who have travelled, worked and lived in South America. I even have friends who were born there who have provided me with expert advice. Not to mention my current local connections who have put me in contact with other international students who have completed an exchange at the school I will be attending to get an international perspective. Travelling is so common these days that it’s not hard to create a Facebook status asking for tips!



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