Steps for Students

Please follow the steps below as you prepare for your international learning experience. Complete these steps as soon as possible upon learning of your travel arrangements. Enter details into Western's travel registry no later than 3 weeks prior to travel.

If you have any questions, please review the FAQ for Students.

Steps for Students

Step 1: Review Government of Canada travel advisories

The  Government of Canada provides travel advice and advisories for Canadians travelling abroad. Review and monitor this information regularly.

Western's Safety Abroad policy restricts student travel to countries with an official travel advisory stating " avoid non-essential travel" and " avoid all travel." If your proposed destination is under an official travel advisory ("avoid non-essential travel" or "avoid all travel"), and there are exceptional circumstances for your travel plans, contact the  Safety Abroad Coordinator  at Western International as soon as possible to discuss your situation.  

Exceptional circumstances may be brought forward for consideration through the   Special Authorization to Travel Request Form.  These circumstances must demonstrate that the   travel is academically essential  and must   include a well-developed safety plan, supported by the Faculty Dean/Academic Unit Head, and Affiliated University College where applicable. The   review process may take up to 3 weeks. If approved, students authorized to travel will not be eligible for Western mobility funding. This includes, but is not limited to, the International Learning Award and Global Opportunities Award.

*Travel to countries with risk levels of "exercise normal security precautions" or "exercise a high degree of caution"   does not  require the use of the Special Authorization to Travel Request form.

If you have questions about the Safety Abroad policy please contact Western International via email at

Step 2: Complete pre-departure training

Students participating in University sanctioned international travel must complete Western's pre-departure training, in addition to any specific training required by your international program. Western International offers this training online via OWL.

Once students receive their 'Certificate of Completion' from OWL, they must upload this to their Travel Registry entry in Atlas. 

Step 3: Enter information in Western’s Travel Registry

All Western students participating in University sanctioned international activities are required to enrol in Western's International Travel Registry. This information enables Western to monitor student safety, update students on travel advisories from the Canadian Government, and locate and provide assistance in case of an emergency overseas.

The travel registry is connected to individual program applications in Atlas, Western's international experience portal.

If you are participating in an international activity not included in Atlas, but one that has been approved, authorized, and/or supported by a Western University unit, department, staff and/or faculty member, please complete the Other University Sanctioned International Experiences application in Atlas to begin the travel registry process. Refer to the user guide for step-by-step instructions on completing the travel registry.

Please enter your information in the travel registry as soon as you are able to, and at least 3 weeks in advance of your travel date. If you have questions about this process that are not addressed in the frequently asked questions list, please email

It is mandatory for students travelling on university sanctioned activities to enter important details as described below, this helps enhance safety and support for students travelling internationally.

  • Dates of travel
  • Travel destination and purpose of your travel
  • Name(s) and contact details of your emergency contacts
  • Out-of-country travel insurance information
  • Confirmation that you have completed all required Pre-Departure Sessions
  • Acknowledgement of Student Rights and Responsibilities

Note: Even if you don't have all your travel details arranged yet please enter what you have. You can always log back in to add more information.

Step 4: Review insurance coverage for out-of-country travel

Medical Insurance

All Western travellers are required to possess adequate out-of-country medical insurance. OHIP or UHIP are not adequate forms of out-of-country medical insurance. All full-time Western students are automatically enrolled in the USC Health and Dental Plan (undergraduates) or SOGS Health and Dental Plan* (graduates) which provide out-of-country health insurance, unless you have opted out. To confirm your coverage under the USC or SOGS plans, ensure that you contact USC or SOGS well before your travel date. If you are not covered und the USC or SOGS plans, you will need to arrange out-of-country medical coverage through another plan, such as your parent's plan. 

*Graduate international students who are not permanent residents in Canada may not use their travel health coverage through the SOGS Health and Dental Plan when travelling to their country of origin. Graduate students who hold dual citizenship should contact Student Care directly to confirm coverage eligibility (Tel: 1-866-358-4435, Web: 

Travel Insurance 

It is highly recommended that you arrange for travel (in addition to medical) insurance to cover your time abroad which may cover expenses incurred due to lost baggage, flight cancellations, missed flights or other unexpected scenarios. You may arrange this cover through your credit card, travel agency or a parent's policy. Become familiar with exactly what your travel insurance plan covers. You should also consider purchasing refundable or flexible flights that can be changed in the event of an emergency or unexpected event. Purchasing new flights can be costly, especially if required at short notice. 

Regardless of your insurance plan, it is important to review and become familiar with exactly what your plan covers, how long it lasts, and where and how it works. Be sure to ask whether the plan covers pre-existing medical conditions. Ask the company to explain the definition, limitations and restrictions of any pre-existing conditions, tests and treatments you may have undergone.

Visit the Government of Canada website for more information on the importance of out-of-country travel insurance, and what coverage to look for. 

Step 5: Register with International SOS (ISOS) & review its services

As part of Western's commitment to our travellers, we have invested in global medical and security assistance through International SOS. This program is designed to keep our students healthy, safe and secure while they are travelling or living abroad. Resources are also available to you prior to travel to help you plan ahead.

Step 6: Obtain any required vaccinations or health checks

All students planning international travel should take initiative to learn about their host country and take reasonable precautions to ensure they stay healthy and safe. This includes visiting a travel clinic or consulting your own doctor about any preventative measures you can take. 

It is recommended that you be vaccinated a minimum of six weeks prior to departure so you must book vaccination appointments well in advance of  the six-week minimum timeframe. Please note that certain vaccinations may require more than six weeks to administer before you travel.

Step 7: Register with Canadians Abroad

Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) is a free service that allows the Government of Canada to notify you in case of an emergency at home. This service also enables you to receive important information before or during a natural disaster or civil unrest.

International students and others holding international passports should check with individual consular services in their home country. 

User Guide: ISOS