Preparing for your trip to Victoria

Posted by j1aala on August 31, 2012 - 11:40am
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Congratulations on your admission to Royal Roads University. You must be getting ready to travel to Canada and wondering what you should pack and what to expect when you arrive. As an international student and having gone through this experience myself, I have some suggestions for you.

  1. First, plan your arrival in Canada so you have time to get settled before classes begin. It is important to be on campus in time for orientation, which will take place on campus September 21st.  
  2. The government of Canada allows students to bring a reasonable quantity of clothing, books, computers and all other electronic items for personal use. Restrictions and limitations apply to tobacco, alcohol, and certain foods and agricultural products. Also, check with your airlines with regard to baggage allowance to avoid excess baggage fees. See below for some tips on what to pack:
    1. Clothing for all seasons:  There are 4 seasons in Canada: Spring, summer, fall and winter. Fortunately, Victoria has a temperate climate with mild winters compared to the rest of Canada. Having said that, weather can be unpredictable. The west coast of Canada can be quite wet, so you will need a raincoat, waterproof shoes or boots and an umbrella. For winter months you will also need a warm jacket, gloves, a scarf and a hat. Of course you can always buy them when you arrive. And don’t forget to bring formal wear for special occasions and traditional wear for cultural celebrations.
    2. Bring a good bilingual dictionary, if needed.
    3. You may wish to bring pictures of your family and friends, music and other items to help you feel at home and to share with your new friends in Victoria.
    4. In Canada, electricity is 120 volts and the prongs on the plug are rectangular, not circular. If you are bringing electrical equipment, then be sure to bring transformers and adapters.
    5. Pack only small quantities of personal items such as shampoo, soap etc, which can easily be purchased in Victoria.
    6. Check that any medications you bring with you are legal in Canada. All medications must be in the original packaging and should be accompanied by a prescription from your physician. Check to see if medications are available in Canada – if not you may need to bring a supply to last your stay here.
    7. If you intend to drive in Canada, then don’t forget to bring your home country driver’s license and driving history record.
  3. Arriving in Canada: When you arrive in Canada, at the first place of landing, be prepared to submit the following documents to immigration officials to receive your study permit. Be sure to carry them with you and do not pack them in checked luggage.
    1. The letter of introduction from CIC that you received when your study permit was approved. This letter shows your study permit reference number and the immigration officer will need this letter in order to issue your study permit.
    2. Your valid passport
    3. A valid study permit if you have already received one.
    4. An original or copy of your letter of acceptance from Royal Roads University
    5. Evidence of financial support and
    6. Any other documents recommended by the Canadian embassy in your home country.
    7. Your accommodation or temporary residence address in Canada with phone numbers.
    8. Health insurance and other required documents.
  4. Travelling to Victoria:  Victoria is located in the province of British Columbia (BC) on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. Ideally, the final destination for your air travel should be Victoria International Airport. If you end your air travel at the Vancouver International Airport, then you will need to take a ferry or book another flight to get over to Victoria. Travelling by ferry is scenic and possibly less expensive than flying. However, the ferry option will add at least three – four hours to your overall travel time. So, plan your travel wisely. 
  5. Victoria ground transportation:  You can pre-arrange airport or ferry pick up services through Beaton’s Meet and Greet to provide airport reception and transportation to your homestay or residence Alternatively, you can take a taxi or bus from the airport / ferry. For an estimate of taxi prices throughout Greater Victoria please visit: Public bus transportation will cost just $2.50; it will require two to four buses (depending on the time of day & your residence distance) transfers and will take 90 minutes or more. You can use Google Maps to plan all your bus routes throughout Victoria.
  6. Currency / Banking: Bring enough Canadian currency to cover your immediate expenses in Canada when you arrive such as taxi, telephone, food etc. Have Canadian dollars in denominations of $50 and less. In addition, all major credit cards are widely accepted and a good alternative to manage your initial expenses.  Check with your bank in your home country about money transfers to Canada for tuition payments.
  7. Accommodation: Be sure to have accommodation arranged before arriving in Canada – for more information about accommodation please see the following posting

I hope these suggestions are helpful and wish you a pleasant trip to Victoria. I look forward to welcoming you in person during RRU international orientation day! In the meantime if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to post them here!