Moving to a new city for school can be a big step, whether the new city is in your home country or not. Some countries, like Canada, Russia, and the United States, are so large that if they were overlaid on Europe or Africa they could span upwards of 20 countries. With regional differences in language, customs, and banking, there are a lot of things to think about before you move, whether it be for school, a change of scene, or as part of a Canadian foreign worker program. To help you avoid getting caught in a bind, we've made a list of some things to remember before you move. Think of it like a relocation checklist.
1. Place to Live
If you're moving for school you probably have the option of signing up for student housing, but don't leave it too late. Many people don't want to buy a Toronto condo or lease a Paris apartment that they've never looked at, so they plan to stay in a hostel or hotel for the first few days or weeks while they look. This is fine if you've booked your flight in advance of classes starting, but trying to attend class and look for an apartment at the same time will quickly wear you out.
2. Bank Account
Most Canadian banks have branches nationwide, so even if you're moving from Halifax to Vancouver (the distance equivalent of moving from Lisbon to Moscow) you'll still be able to access your funds. However, that may not be the case if you're on a student exchange to Helsinki, so talk to your bank about how you'll be able to access your money. You don't want to find out your account in China is inaccessible the hard way, like when you're in a long line at the university bookstore trying to pay for a set of test weights as part of your physics laboratory supplies you need for your program.
3. Health Insurance
For students moving within Canada, your home province's medical insurance program will cover you while you study. But for students going to another country, whether that country has publicly-funded health care or not, you need to buy medical insurance. Your school will often offer insurance as part of your tuition, but it behooves you to make sure. While you can't be refused life-saving treatment, to recover fully required home health care. Ontario and other provinces will not pay for it if you're not a citizen, so if you have no coverage you're out of luck.
4. Your Stuff
Make sure you have a plan to move your stuff. If you're buying or renting furniture when you get there, fine. But if you plan on driving or flying with it across country, make sure you check on how much it will cost you to do so. It may actually end up being cheaper to buy new stuff or have it shipped to you by mail. When shipping, invest in a quality strapping system to make sure it doesn't end up all over the pavement or scattered throughout the inside of the mail truck.
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