Advice for Youth Travelling Overseas: A Mother’s Perspective

June 6, 2013

[Today's post is brought to you by our guest blogger Mousumi B., a vocational instructor in Ontario, Canada.]

I am a mother of a 19 year old boy, who wants to travel abroad to be engaged in an international internship to shape up his career and gain real life hands on experience. Since he has never travelled alone, I am a bit concerned about his safety in a foreign land. Here are some recommendations for him and to other youth who are traveling alone for the first time. Student

  • Ensure you always carry your itinerary and travel documents with you and also leave photocopies both where you are residing in your host country and back home with someone you trust. If your travel documents get lost or stolen, you can more easily apply for a new passport with this necessary information.
  • Record the contact information for the Canadian Embassy or your country’s embassy located in the country you are visiting. In case of an emergency, you would know whom to contact to get the necessary help.
  • Do your research on the culture and the societal norms of the new country. Your knowledge may help to prevent misunderstandings and to ensure you do not offend anyone.
  • Travel smart – never compromise your safety. Safety issues may evolve from being too adventurous when trying new activities, taking health risks or not understanding instructions/cautions due to language barriers. Trying new food in a new country can also lead to a health hazard, if you are allergic to any of the ingredients used to prepare the exotic food you try for the first time in your life. To overcome language barriers, try these translation applications which can help. Also, try to listen to broadcasts in the new language and perhaps take a few basic language lessons before going or upon your arrival at your destination.
  • Know where the local hospitals and clinics are located in case of a medical emergency and always travel with medical insurance.
  • Ensure you have recorded your family doctor’s office contact information, insurance company contact information, and travel insurance company contact information. Copies should be left with your travel documents (see above).

As a mother, I would feel most assured if my son were traveling with a reputable company to ensure items such as those mentioned above are looked after by people who have experience planning trips and internships down to the tiniest detail. Everything you can imagine from accommodations, employer details and internship job descriptions, information about the country/culture, insurance, etc. are handled. Not only that, but local contacts will meet my son at the airport, provide an orientation and ensure my son’s safety. It’s the next best thing to me traveling with him!

My advice to all youth is to take advantage now of the opportunity to travel and to learn more about your career in exciting new places! If you heed the recommendations noted above, you will increase your chance of traveling healthy and safely and be in demand anywhere with international work experience. Enjoy what is sure to be one of the most memorable experiences of your life!!

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