Welcome to the Experiences Canada Family!
Congratulations on registering your child for a reciprocal exchange! Over the coming months you will find this is an experience that not only leaves a lasting impression on your child, but on your whole family. Whether you will be hosting a student in your home, or supporting the youth in their common stay activities, we hope you will enjoy being an ally on their journey to discovering more about this country, its diversity of language, cultures, and history, and about themselves.
We’d like to tell you a little more about Experiences Canada, our programs and services, as well as provide some tips about what you might expect while your child is participating in the exchange. There is even information about opportunities for your youth to stay involved once their trip has ended!
What Parents are saying
This is a program that needs to be more widely known. As parents, we were very impressed with the staff we spoke to. Everyone was very helpful, and willing to find answers to any questions we had. They were very accessible and easy to contact. We have no hesitation recommending the program to other families.
My daughter struggles in our small school with self-confidence. Being in this group this past year has given her confidence and show her a whole big world. She has now chosen to move away and continue her next step in education closer to the new friends she has met through this experience.
I have seen changes in my children and other students each trip. They are using French reflexively on the way home. Increased confidence, pride in being able to travel and live outside of their comfort zone, and knowing their communication skills are improving with each day.
A huge thank you. My twin daughters went to British Columbia in 2017. It was an amazing and memorable growing experience. They are proud of their country, Canada, and its history.
Both my boys (who are in French immersion) did a week-long exchange in Quebec in middle school, with a student staying with us as well for a week each time. They all had great experiences, and I think it was a valuable learning experience for them. Very healthy for them to be exposed to a new family and their different way of living and eating.
frequently asked questions
What if I have youth that have special needs?
We strongly believe that all youth should have equal access to participation in Experiences Canada Exchanges. As such we provide limited funding to support the inclusion of youth with special needs or disabilities, from low-income households, rural or isolated areas and other needs on a case-by-case basis.
What if I have youth that have special needs?What if there are any behavioral issues or other emergencies while on exchange?
Although an Experiences Canada representative is always available to discuss situations, the Group Organizers are responsible for the day-to-day supervision and overall group management. All emergencies and/or incidents are to be dealt with in a timely, appropriate and professional manner by the Group Organizer or another responsible adult from their school or organization. If there is an emergency situation while on exchange, please inform our staff at your first opportunity by calling the emergency phone line number that will be provided to you.
How do I know the host family stay will be safe?
The safety and security of our exchange participants is Experiences Canada’s number one priority. All host families must complete a strict screening process which includes providing references and/or having a home visit by the Group Organizer. We believe that the host family experience is a positive learning opportunity and creates a connection between the youth that would only occur outside of structured activities.
Who is required to obtain Police Checks?
All group organizers and chaperones are required to obtain a Police Record and Vulnerable Sector Check. All members of the host family who are over the age of 18 are also required to obtain a police record and vulnerable sector check.
How do I obtain a Police Record and Vulnerable Sector Check?
To obtain the Police Record and Vulnerable Sector Check please visit your local police department.
Do I need to bring anything with me to complete the Police Record Check?
Please bring photo ID and the volunteer letter which can be found in the Experiences Canada secure website.
What kind of insurance do I need to get?
All Experiences Canada participants are covered by a group accident insurance plan during the two weeks of their exchange. Travel or cancellation insurance, which includes emergency hospital/medical insurance, is not part of Experiences Canada’s plan however it can be purchased directly from our travel provider, or through family plans or independent insurance providers.
Host Family Tips
- Introduce yourself and let your twin youth know how you would like to be called
- Be open and communicate
- Call their family and introduce yourself
- Give them a tour of the house
- Let them know about your laundry schedule
- Give them your meal time schedule
- Review the week itinerary so everyone is aware of morning wake up time and afternoon schedule
- Review the pickup and drop off schedule
- Meal plan for the week-discuss allergies, food preferences, times
- Make the youth feel comfortable and part of the family
Preparing your youth for Travel
- Be open to new things — explain to your youth that there twin may speak a different language and eat different foods, encourage them to be open and try new things!! Trying new things will build their awareness for diversity and support their appreciation of differences
- Establish a schedule on when to check in with you when they are on the exchange
- Encourage them to communicate with their twin family
- If they are homesick or if something is bothering them, encourage them to speak about it right away with their group organizer or host family
- Pack appropriate clothing for weather-speak to your twin family for tips
- Provide spending money, during the exchange there may be time for youth to shop