Quest Exchange in Canada

Canada is a safe and affordable choice for students to study abroad! You can choose which region you want to live – Quest has many schools that will fit your dream location & budget.  Let the Quest team navigate through the application process, ensure school acceptance and connect you with a caring Canadain host family.

The expanse of Canada’s natural beauty, from mountains and glaciers to secluded lakes and forests, is almost unparalleled worldwide. But Canada’s allure is not just the great outdoors, Canada has cosmopolitan cities that are clean, safe, friendly and multicultural. In fact, Canada repeatedly is lauded as one of the world’s most livable countries. In addition, Canadian cities are generally much smaller than in the U.S.A., so they are easy to get around. Canadian people – even in big cities, tend to be friendly to strangers and crime is low.

From coast to coast, there is ample opportunity for you to explore! Indulge in cosmopolitan atmosphere in cities like Toronto and Montreal; wilderness expeditions and whale-watching from Vancouver to Nova Scotia; ice skating in Quebec City; skiing on some of the world’s best powder at esteemed resorts in Whistler and Banff; feasting on seaside oysters on Prince Edward Island; traversing the vast Canadian Rocky Mountain range by train—the list goes on and on!

You’ll see things here that you won’t see anywhere else in the world!

3 Fun Facts
  • Canada’s official languages may be French and English, but our geese have their own language: scientists believe that Canada geese have as many as 13 different calls for everything from greetings and warnings to happiness.
  • Many of Canada’s national parks are bigger than countries. Wood Buffalo National Park in Alberta is larger than Denmark and Switzerland.
  • Canada has the longest coastline of any country in the world. In fact, if you were to walk around the country (without sleeping, eating, or resting), it would take roughly four and a half years.
SCHOOL LIFE

All schools in Canada start and end on the same day no matter what region you choose to live. School starts the first week of September and runs until the end of June (ten months) and is divided into periods or quarters (terms/semesters). School holiday dates are published by schools well in advance, thus allowing natural parents plenty of time to schedule holidays and visits.  The school day in high school is usually from 8.30am until 2.30pm.  Canada also has what it calls ‘semestered high schools’, where instead of the standard eight subjects being taught throughout the year, four subjects are taught each term, with one long lesson (usually 70 minutes) on each subject each day.

Canadian schools have flexible academic requirements and look at applications on a more holistic level. School sports are popular in Canada, although most take place outside school, team sports have a high profile in Canadian high schools. In addition to sports, many other school-sponsored activities are offered including science and nature clubs, musical organizations (e.g. band and choir), art and drama groups, and language clubs.

Quest offers both bilingual (French and English) or English programs in Quebec, New Brunswick, and Ontario.  Students attend classes in an English high school while enjoying their homestay with either an English or French-speaking host family.

FAMILY LIFE

Family is very important in Canada. Society relies on families to raise their children properly and to be good citizens. Children rely on their parents to care for them and protect them from harm. Parents expect their children to respect the family name and to be there when they get older. Both parents probably work, but mealtime is a place for the whole family to spend time together and share their day’s activities.  Children have chores and responsibilities but are also given freedoms based on each individual family’s rules.  Sports and outdoor activities are popular in Canada, most families are active in both summer and winter sports or outdoor activities. Students are wonderfully surprised at how much time they spend outdoors while living in Canada!

PROGRAM EXTRAS

French School Instruction (Ontario)

French language schools are available in three provinces; New Brunswick, Ontario, and Quebec. New Brunswick offers bilingual schools, Ontario has a French only district, and all Quebec districts are French only. Students in French-speaking schools obtain the same curriculum as their counterparts in the English-language school system. The only difference is that students in French-language schools learn the curriculum in French, and in a French cultural setting. You do not need a particular level of French to enroll, but a basic understanding of the language is recommended.

Rocky Mountain School District

Study in beautiful British Columbia on the warm side of the famous Rocky Mountains! This program welcomes students from around the world and provides top-quality curricular and extra-curricular opportunities to learn, play, and grow. Are you interested in river rafting, curling, dog sledding, or kayaking? Ask us about the monthly activities, events, and trips that are included in your study abroad experience!

Summer Programs

Several summer programs are also offered in Canada, ranging from 2-4 weeks. Past camps have included various activities such as leadership courses, learning French in Quebec, hockey lessons from Olympic gold-medalists, and excursions to Niagra Falls! Activities are included and depend on location. Contact our office for more information on offerings, dates and pricing.

PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

There are no minimum GPA scores needed to enter the program in Canada. Students ages 13-18 can choose their own subjects, there are no required subjects except for English, for non-English speakers and French in French-speaking Canada. Sports are encouraged both school team and outside clubs offer a variety of sports including skiing. Students can travel home during holidays and school breaks. Parents are allowed to visit.

VISAS

Applications for Study Permits are submitted online or by mail. Processing time can range from 4 to 8 weeks and requires a $150 CAD fee (not included in program price).

Regions

Click on the dropdown menu to view Canada’s other regions.

British Columbia

The West Coast region of Canada describes the province of British Columbia. Colloquially known as “B.C.”, this area of Canada prides itself on its natural beauty. From cultured Vancouver to charming Victoria, to the iconic ski slopes in Whistler, the province also has the mildest winters in Canada, on average. This is especially true in coastal regions, making it popular with international students who are less enthusiastic about winter. BC lifestyle is inspired by the natural beauty of the region. Residents are known for their healthy living and interest in outdoor activities like biking, skiing, and kayaking. Vancouver is a diverse, vibrant city influenced by a fusion of different cultures. Nearby Victoria is peaceful and offers a small town feel.

School Districts in the West Coast Region include:

  • Albert College
  • Bishops College School
  • Delta School District
  • Gulf Islands School District
  • Kootenay Lake School District
  • Lakefield College School
  • Langley School District
  • Mission Public Schools
  • Nanaimo-Ladysmith School District
  • Penticton School District
  • Qualicum School District
  • Richmond School District
  • Rocky Mountain School District
  • Sea to Sky School District
  • Sooke School District
  • Victoria International HS

Will students have access to Internet/WiFi at their home and school?

Yes, students will most likely have access to the Internet/WiFi at home and school. All host families are required to provide Internet access. Most families have high-speed wireless internet access, but some have limited data that they can use each month.

Can students bring their own cell phones?

Yes, if a student has an unlocked cell phone, they could use their personal phone with a Canadian carrier/SIM card. Students can also purchase a Canadian mobile phone and can purchase reasonably priced “pay & talk” plans with any local cell phone provider. Students are encouraged to bring their smartphone, personal laptop or tablet to school to use during class.

Can students travel without an adult chaperone, if given permission?

Students cannot travel outside of the host area without adult supervision. Travel outside of the host area with adult supervision is authorized if approved by the natural parents, host family, local partner office, and Quest.

How much money should students have for spending money?

Students should budget around $200/month for personal expenses, which include entertainment, personal hygiene items, long-distance calls, etc. Additional money should be budgeted for start-up school expenses, such as books and supplies. These fees are in addition to Quest program fees.

What are some cultural norms that describe a typical host family in Canada?

Canadian families are diverse, so family expectations, interactions, and activities vary widely. Generally, Canadians are easy going and very polite. Some families may afford the student a great deal of independence, while others may expect the student to participate more extensively in family life. Some families may be very active or outdoorsy, while others may prefer to relax at home. Thus, students must be open-minded and ready to adapt to their new host family dynamics.

How are host families chosen?

Quest’s in-country partner is responsible for locating, screening and matching host families with our students. Host families go through a careful screening process, which typically involves in-person interviews, home inspections, and references.

What is the visa application process and how long does the process normally take?

For stays over 90 days, students will need a visa. Applications for Study Permits are submitted online or by mail. Processing time can range from 4 to 8 weeks and requires a $150 CAD fee (not included in program price).  As the details of this process may vary, neither Quest nor our Canadian partner office can confirm the exact requirements. For this reason, Quest is not able to assist with legal visa documents. It is the student’s responsibility to research the current visa requirements and to obtain and submit the visa application.

How will the student get to and from school?

Transportation is provided. Students will either take the bus or get a ride to school from their host families.

Is there a possibility for students to get tutors during their program?

Yes, it may be possible, some schools may offer this at no cost after classes in the library, whereas some may assign a tutor at an extra cost. Students should consult with the academic coordinator at their school for more information.

Can students receive an official document with grades and completed classes after finishing their program?

Yes, students will receive a final school report on the subject and associated assessment listed. But, students must complete all school assignments and take all exams in order to receive this. They must also communicate with the school officials in Canada about their desire to receive this documentation. Students must be proactive about this, as obtaining this documentation is their responsibility before they leave Canada.

Do schools offer different sports/activities?

Yes, students are encouraged to participate in the wonderful sports Canada has to offer. If playing a specific sport is a priority, please inform us ahead of time so we can guide you to a school location that offers your interests. Please remember sports are seasonal.

THINK IT OVER

The rewards of life abroad are amazing and wonderful, but are you up for the unique challenges that come with this experience? You will be away from your friends, family and the lifestyle you are accustomed to. You will have to adapt to a new language, culture, school and family. You will have to make decisions on your own and make new friends. Think about it and do some research on the country you want to study in. There is a wealth of information on the Internet that can better prepare you for your adventure!

GET YOUR PARENT/LEGAL GUARDIAN ON BOARD

Your parent(s) or guardian(s) need to help you make your dream happen. The application process takes time and effort, so it is important, at this stage, to make sure your parents support your decision to study abroad and have given you the approval to move forward. If they feel that you are prepared and understand what’s required from them, you are ready to move to the next step.

CHECK IN WITH YOUR SCHOOL

You may receive credit from your program, but it is your responsibility to make this happen. Each country has different rules, you need to check with your school to find out which credits you can receive. You must approach your guidance counselor to determine if you can get the credits you are hoping to receive. Bring Quest’s Academic Guide with you, and be certain of what you will be responsible for.

CONTACT QUEST FOR PROGRAM INFORMATION AND PAPERWORK

Fill out our online information request form in order to receive important program information from Quest via email. This email will contain Quest’s Program Agreement and Program Guidelines for your parent’s review and signature. Carefully review all of this information and contact Quest if you have any questions. We are here to help guide you through the process so you can make decisions that fit your needs.

CONFIRM PROGRAM DETAILS

The Quest Program Coordinator will confirm with you the program details submitted on your original request form. If you’re unsure of your destination, we’ll help you narrow down your choices to the country and program season that works for you. We will need to have contact with your parents to ensure everyone feels informed and ready to proceed with the decisions made.

CONFIRM PAYMENT DETAILS

You and your parents will receive the online Payment Agreement, which states the total program price for your selected destination country and Quest’s payment process. Your parents will receive an invoice for the application deposit, which is due before you submit your student application.

COMPLETE YOUR APPLICATION

Quest will send you a full student application for the program you have chosen. This application can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to complete. Make sure you give yourself ample time prior to the application deadline to complete the application and supplemental documents.

SKYPE INTERVIEW

This is when you get to meet your Quest Program Coordinator and talk face to (virtual) face. During the interview, the Program Coordinator will assess your suitability for the Quest High School Abroad program. This call lasts 30-60 minutes. Your parents should be ready to speak with us at the end of the call, but the first part of the interview questions must be answered by the student alone. There is no preparation needed other than to talk about yourself, your desire to participate in the program and why you feel you are ready.

WAITING FOR ACCEPTANCE

Your Quest Program Coordinator will review your application and interview documentation to determine acceptance. Our team members put a lot of thought into the decisions they make, and not all students are accepted into the program. In order to make our decision, Quest must review complete and accurate application materials. We choose students who are emotionally, socially and academically prepared for the study abroad program. We look at each student’s level of maturity, independence, and ability to adapt to life in another country.

ACCEPTANCE AND INVOICE

You will receive a letter of acceptance from Quest via email. Your parents will receive an invoice outlining the total cost with only the first 50% of the total due within 10 days. The final 50% of the remaining program fees are due within 30 days of the invoice date.

GET LEGAL – VISA AND IMMIGRATION

This is a very important step in the process and can be very time-intensive. We suggest that you get started researching the requirements as soon as possible with the nearest embassy or consulate for your destination country, as requirements vary by location. Because the process does vary considerably, Quest and our foreign partner office are not able to assist with legal visa documents. It is the student’s responsibility to research the current visa requirements and to obtain and submit the visa application to the nearest embassy of the country you have chosen. Start filling out all of the paperwork well in advance, as visa approval can take anywhere from a few days to a several months to obtain.

SCHOOL AND HOST FAMILY PLACEMENT

This is the hardest part: waiting for your school and host family placement information! Making quality placements takes time, and we will need your patience during this important step. Quest will notify you and your parents of a confirmed placement in a school and then again when you are placed with your host family. Write to your host family as soon as possible to introduce yourself, and let them know how excited you are to meet them.

BOOK YOUR FLIGHT

Working together with you and your parents, Quest will confirm your arrival date and book your roundtrip international flight to your placement area. We will also book your student travel and medical insurance for your trip, so you can rest easier while abroad!

PRE-DEPARTURE ORIENTATION

Your Quest Program Coordinator will help you get prepped for your trip with a pre-departure orientation prior to your departure. You’ll receive an agenda before the call. We encourage you to write all of your remaining questions down so that we can make you and your parents feel prepared for your trip abroad. We will go over the program rules, what to pack, what to do if you need support once you arrive, and more!

LIVE YOUR STUDY ABROAD DREAM!

Congratulate yourself and your family for making this happen. You are on your way to the study abroad adventure that you’ve earned!

Balance your time abroad — keep in touch with those back home, but remember that the point of studying abroad is to be present and active in your host country. Keep a blog or an online photo album so you can show all of the revelations you have had and the sights you have seen. On a rainy day, you’ll be happy to reflect on your growing experience abroad. Stay in touch with Local Coordinators and with Quest. We’d love to hear how you are doing!

Programs Available
  • Year
  • Semester
  • Short Term 1- 3 Months
  • Summer Programs 1-3 months
Application Deadline
  • April 1st (Year/Fall Semester)
  • October 1st (Spring Semester)
  • February 1st (Summer Term)
Apply Now

Quest International, a nonprofit organization, promoting international cultural awareness and compassion by providing educational programs for American and International students to live and learn together.

High Schools in Canada

Click on the images to learn more about each school

Regions
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  • Atlantic Region
  • Central Canada
  • Prarie Provinces
  • West Coast
Type of School
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  • Boarding
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  • Private
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Affordable
Short-Term