Frequently asked questions – Exchanges Canada
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Travel and safety
What do I/we need to do to prepare?
If your application is accepted, you will be contacted with detailed information about what you must do to prepare for the experience.
What kinds of activities will I/we do on an exchange?
Participants may visit the cultural attractions of the host community, participate in engaging discussions about Canada's many cultures, and attend language or other educational classes.
For more specific information, contact the exchange or forum delivery organization that offers the experience.
How much will it cost?
Through its delivery organizations, the Exchanges Canada program generally reimburses approved organizers for return transportation for the youth and their chaperones.
Costs vary depending on the experience. As a general rule, participants should expect to pay registration or application fees, as well as costs for local transportation and, in the case of youth exchanges, hosting activities. Please check with the exchange or forum delivery organization for further details.
To help offset the costs of an exchange or forum, participants may be required to participate in fundraising activities.
Where can I/we go on an exchange or a forum?
Participants can go almost anywhere in Canada. They can discover a rural area or a city centre, a French- or English-speaking community, a province on the other side of the country or an equally exciting place closer to home.
How long does an exchange last? What about a forum?
The time participants spend in another community is typically one week for a group exchange, but there will be activities before and after the visit. There is also the opportunity for a six-week exchange where students will work in their second official language.
Forums vary in length, but are typically about three to five days.
Where will I/we stay if I/we participate in an exchange? What if I/we participate in a forum?
Most often, participants stay in the family homes of their exchange partners, but accommodations can vary. If youth are participating in a forum, they might stay in a hotel or a dormitory. Please contact the exchange or forum delivery organization directly to confirm accommodations.
Can I participate in an exchange alone?
In some cases, you can apply as an individual and be grouped with other participants who register alone. Contact the exchange or forum delivery organization responsible for your preferred exchange to find out if this option is available to you.
How are exchange groups matched?
Groups are matched based on the ages and interests of their members. Consideration is also given to the regional, linguistic and cultural diversity of the groups.
How are exchange partners selected?
"Twins" are matched based on their age and interests.
Where can I learn more about other programs for youth?
Learn about other opportunities in Canada and beyond.
How old do I/we have to be to participate?
Typically, youth must be at least 12 years of age to participate in an exchange, and 14 years of age to participate in a forum. For more information about specific eligibility criteria, please contact the exchange or forum delivery organization directly.
If I have special needs, can I still participate in an exchange or a forum?
Yes. Please check with the delivery organization responsible for the exchange or forum to inquire about available assistance.
Travel and safety
How will I/my group travel?
Depending on the location of the community visited, you may travel by train, bus or plane.
Where will I/my group stay?
Most often, participants stay in the family homes of their exchange partners, but accommodations can vary. If you are participating in a forum, you might stay in a hotel or a dormitory. Please contact the exchange or forum delivery organization directly to confirm accommodations.
What kind of security is in place?
Safety is of utmost importance to the Exchanges Canada program. All delivery organizations are required to adhere to stringent safety and security guidelines, including regulations about the screening of host families and the duties of supervisors and organizers.
For more information on safety and security measures, please contact the exchange or forum delivery organization directly.
How are host families selected?
Host families are thoroughly screened. The Exchanges Canada program's delivery organizations check the references of all potential host families and may visit homes to ensure a safe environment for all participants.
Do you provide funding to host families?
No. The Exchanges Canada program usually only provides funding to offset transportation costs for the participants and their chaperones.
How can we host an exchange participant?
You can only be a host family if your teen is involved in an exchange. You will then have the opportunity to host a youth of similar age from another community in Canada.
I am/we are Canadian and would like to travel abroad. Can you help?
While the Exchanges Canada program does not offer international exchange or travel programs, we have put together a list of other opportunities that could be of interest to you. As these opportunities are not offered by the Exchanges Canada program, you must contact the delivery organizations directly for more information.
I am/we are not Canadian. Can I/we participate in your program?
Our exchanges and forums are designed specifically for Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada. However, we have put together a list of other opportunities that could be of interest to you. As these opportunities are not offered by the Exchanges Canada program, you must contact the organizations directly for more information.
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