- Develop language skills
- Share their family and school life with another person
- Increase their cultural awareness through a direct experience
- Enhance their understanding of others
- Gain confidence, responsibility and self-reliance
- Come home with a new appreciation of Canada
- Prepare for 21st century life in the global village
- Establish personal relationships that may last a lifetime
Beyond academic standing, personality, interests, enthusiasm and commitment, other considerations include: ability to get along with others, activities planned for the hosting period, home accommodation for the visiting student. Ideally, a separate room for the visiting student should be available (siblings might share to free a room); a separate bed is always required where room sharing is unavoidable.
Host parents and families must be able to provide a warm, friendly and secure home environment, be open minded, show strong interest and commitment, and have preliminary plans for hosting in August and anticipated cultural activities that the visiting student would experience. Host families must be willing and able to speak only English during the entire hosting period.
During the fall term, parents should attend the parents’ night at school to ensure that the appropriate teachers are aware that the Ontario student will be attending school out of the province for three months the following spring. It is the responsibility of students to meet with their teachers to determine how to complete the work in each subject; most often students are able to work ahead, and may complete at least one assignment while away. Ideally these assignments relate to the exchange experience, the culture, language, or history of the host country. All students return by mid-May, and again, work with their teachers to catch up and prepare for the year-end and exams in June.
For exchanges in French-language destinations students must be studying French as a second language in a core, immersion or extended program. Students from French-language homes and/or schools may wish to go to these destinations for the cultural experience. However, they must understand that French language students are seeking to improve their English language skills while in Ontario. Ontario students from French language homes and/or schools should consider an exchange to Spain or Italy.
For exchanges with Italy and Spain, students should have some background in the language of the host country. Where a language course is not taught in the school nor offered through the school board, participants in these exchanges should seek other ways of acquiring a basic knowledge, such as courses through various community agencies, interactive computer programs, internet offerings etc.
Summer Programs carry no language requirement.
The amount of spending money can be determined according to the student’s own spending habits at home. Younger students generally require less for social activities than older students.
Students may indicate a particular request in their application form (music lessons, fitness program, horseback riding) and the host family will usually try to accommodate. In such cases, students would be responsible for the fees involved.