Before You Travel
Things for school

All our schools have a specific school uniform or a color dress code. The dress code must be respected and worn every school day. There is also a compulsory uniform and/or dress code for gym class. The uniforms can usually be purchased through the school. You will also need gym/running shoes for Physical Education class.

Bring a paper dictionary to use during examinations periods to translate. Other electronic translating devices may not be permitted.

Clothes for winter

Winters in Montreal can drop to –25 Celsius. You will need appropriate clothing to stay warm such as a winter jacket, scarf, gloves, hat, sweaters and waterproof winter boots.


It would be nice to bring something from your home country to give to your homestay family or custodian. It doesn’t have to be anything expensive, just something original to your country.


It is very important that you bring these documents with you and remember to keep these documents with you on the plane and not in the suitcase:

  • Full name, address, and phone number of homestay family
  • Name and phone number of homestay and/or agent representative
  • Passport (Your passport must be valid for at least six months after your intended departure date)
  • Study Permit
  • Airline Tickets
  • Most recent school report card and official English/French translation
  • Immunization Record (vaccination card)
  • Letter of Acceptance (Letter sent to your agent)
  • Prescriptions for any medication that you are bringing with you (if you need to renew them in Canada)

We recommend that you make a copy of your most important documents, like your passport. Keep a copy with you and give one to your homestay family/guardian. Should you lose your passport, it is much easier to have a new passport issued if you have a copy of it.

Health Insurance Plan

It is compulsory for all international students to have medical and travel insurance for the time that you study in Canada. The health insurance plan is included for all EMSB international students as part of the tuition fee for a 12-month period.

Medicine Prescriptions

While most medications are available in Canada, you should bring enough with you to last for the first month if you need anything specific.

Remember to bring your doctor’s prescription, as you may need to prove you are allowed that medication and it should help when you need to visit a doctor for a repeat prescription.


Canada's electrical supply and electrical outlets (sockets, wall plugs) is 120 Volts and 60 Hertz. You may want to check what the electrical supply is in your own country. Click here to be directed to a website with the different voltages around the world listed by country

Power Adapter

You probably need to purchase an adapter/converter so you can charge any electronic devices, like a laptop or your phone, while you are in Canada.

There are many stores in Montreal that sell adapters and converters including Wal-Mart and most of our drugstores/pharmacies such as Jean Coutu and Pharmaprix.


Canada’s currency is the Canadian dollar (CAD). While you are able to pay with credit cards almost everywhere, many people still use cash (coins and bills) to pay with. It’s a good idea to always carry a bit of cash with you.

For instance, on the city bus you can only pay with coins and must have the exact change, (unless you have a bus pass).

The coins have nicknames, or popular names:

  • The one-dollar coin is called a Loonie because of the bird on the coin (a loon)
  • The 2-dollar coin is called a Toonie
  • 25 cents is a Quarter
  • 10 cents is a Dime
  • 5 cents is a Nickel

One of the more difficult things to get used to is that the 5-cent coin is bigger than the 10-cent coin. This will take some getting used to when you first start paying with coins.

Canada has stopped making the one-cent, also known as a penny, in May 2012, and stopped the use of the penny in February 2013. When paying cash any purchase or price that does not end in a five or a zero will be rounded up or down. So, if something costs $1.01 or $1.02 the price becomes $1.00. If something costs $1.03 or $1.04, it becomes $1.05.

For any electronic transactions (credit card and debit card), cheques, and money orders, nothing will change. A $1.03 purchase will cost $1.03.

It will be good to have some cash with you when you arrive; we recommend you bring around $250.00CAD in cash with you.