Canada has earned its nickname “The Great White North” by being great, northern, and oftentimes snowy-white. Gorgeous scenery, lively cities, and friendly people are just a few of the reasons students should spend time in one of the world’s happiest countries.

High schoolers from other English speaking countries will find the transition straightforward while those who speak English as a second language can use time in Canada to learn the language. If you're interested in learning French in an immersion setting, spending high school abroad in Quebec is a convenient option for North American students. Read on to find out how and where to spend high school abroad in Canada.

Canada is great for students who are interested in economics, business, learning English or French, agriculture, nature, and winter sports.

High school students interested in studying abroad in Canada can choose from:

  • A semester or full year exchange
  • A summer study abroad program
  • A youth travel program over spring, winter, or summer break
High School Exchange

Popular cities for high schoolers to study abroad include Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, and Ottawa. These cities are great for students who want to learn English, while those hoping to learn French can choose to learn in Montreal and Quebec.

Individuals learning English or French will see their language skills improve by communicating with new friends and host family.

High schoolers studying for a semester or a full year in Canada will usually live with a host family. This is a wonderful way for students to absorb the culture and see what everyday life is like in Canada.

Summer Study Program

Some Canadian universities allow high school students to enroll in summer courses and jump start their academic career. Courses can focus on Canadian culture, history, and language while allowing students to receive college credit.

Youth Travel Tours

Youth travel tours in Canada often have a focus such as adventure, nature, or volunteerism. Students will have a unique, exciting experience while incorporating educational components like language, history, and architecture. Typically, these programs focus on experiential learning rather than traditional classroom learning.


If you’re a high school student from the United States, the UK, or Australia you can stay 180 days without a visa. Interesting in studying longer? You will need apply for a Canadian student visa. If you are traveling with a program, they often provide assistance with visa applications.


Students staying for a semester or yearlong exchange will usually live with host families, which provides the support system of a local family.

High schoolers enrolled in teen travel programs will often share a hotel or hostel room with fellow travelers.

Students participating in summer programs associated with a university have the option of living in university dorms with other students or with a host family.


If you’re coming from North America, flights to hubs like Calgary and Ottawa can cost around $400 USD, while those flying from Europe can pay between $700 to $1,000 USD.

Costs for transportation, food, nights out, and additional expenses in Canada are on par with the United States and slightly less expensive than the UK and Australia. Students should budget around $40 USD a day.

Program costs vary based on what’s included, the length of stay and type of housing. Students can find Canadian programs ranging from $2,000 for a two-week program to $5,000 for a summer college program.

Packing tips

Packing for Canada will vary depending on where you’ll be and what time of year you’re visiting. Also consider that the further north you go, the closer to the Arctic Circle and the colder it gets.


  • Breathable and UPF (sun resistant) clothing
  • Sunscreen


  • Warm/waterproof jacket
  • Layers
  • Hat
  • Gloves
  • Boots


  • Solid walking shoes
  • A reusable water bottle

Note that if you're coming from the U.S. there's no need to bring a power adaptor. Students from elsewhere will, however, need to bring one.

Staying Healthy in Canada

Healthcare in Canada is excellent. Students should have travelers insurance (or make sure their current health insurance is accepted in Canada), as otherwise you’ll be required to pay for care at the time services are rendered. There are no specific vaccinations recommended for Canada. Food and tap water are safe to consume in Canada.

Safety Considerations

Overall, Canada is an incredibly safe country for high schoolers and instances of crime are low throughout the country. Petty theft and pickpocketing has been known to happen in more crowded, touristy areas of larger cities. And of course, always follow local laws and stay away from illegal drugs and underage consumption.

Contributed by Alecia Weaver

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