Spending another boring summer in America, eh? You haven’t come face to face with a moose or drank your weight in maple syrup? Well, Canada is just a hop, skip and a jump away to completely change your summer plans. Canada offers pre-university students the opportunity to be immersed in French, nature and an entirely new culture.

  • Languages: French and English
  • Popular Destinations: Niagara Falls, Ottawa. Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto and Banff
  • Cost of Living: Ranges between $35,000-800,000 per year
  • Activities: Hiking, mountain climbing, camping, sports events, cultural attractions and museums.
  • Canadian currency is often referred to as loonie.
  • About 2/3 of the world’s maple syrup is made in Quebec, Canada.
  • Up until 1965, Canada didn’t have a national flag.
  • Comedian Seth Rogan and actress Rachel McAdams are from Canada.

Program Types

Language Immersion Programs

Canada allows students learning French to be fully immersed in the language due specific provinces having only one official language being French. Francophiles will have the opportunity to not only surround one’s self in the language, but also in the culture.

  • Edu-Inter Summer French Programs: Edu-Inter programs offers pre-university teenagers, ages 12-17, a multitude of different summer activities revolved around the French language and culture in Quebec, Canada. These activities include: multi-activity, sports and art camps in which the participant as French immersion classes in the morning and the afternoon is dedicated to the activity specific to the camp. Participants will be staying with a host family or on off-campus housing being facilitated by counselors affiliated with the camp.
  • AmeriSpan: AmeriSpan has two French language immersion programs, one in Quebec City and the other in Montreal. Both programs provide prospective students with an intensive French language course and organized activities outside the context of the classroom. Students will be staying with a host family that provides a private room and two daily meals, and an insight to another culture.
  • Many Canadian Universities provide French language immersion sessions ranging from 1-week to an entire summer in length. Many programs allow high school students to enroll and are provided with on and off-campus housing, along with social organizations that allow students to use French outside the context of the classroom.
Go Wild or Make a Splash!

Canada is comprised primarily of forestry and needs an abundance of help from volunteers all over the world to help protect and maintain the natural wilderness. The marine life in Canada is lush and thriving as well, needing the same protection. Many programs give young teenagers an opportunity to volunteer in national parks and forests, providing education on conservation and maintenance, and marine educational and conservation based programs.

  • SCA National Conservation Crew: This tuition free program calls for aspiring young teenagers whose passion lies in conservation of national parks and forests. The program ranges in areas all over America and into Canada allowing youth the opportunity to learn the importance of conservation.
  • British Columbia Marine Mammal Studies: This program allows youth the incredible opportunity to live and work in an isolated biological field station in British Columbia. The intimate studies the program offers allows student to learn in a hands on situation with the marine mammals. The program also offers participants 3 college credits as well as 10 community service hours.
Education Tours of Canada

Many adventure and tour programs allow students of all ages to visit the cultural and education sights of specific Canadian provinces. These tours provide a range of different itineraries that students can choose from depending upon their interests.

EF Educational Tours: EF Educational Tours offers educational itinerary based tours of different areas in Canada ranging from Quebec City to Toronto for 6 days and more. Tours are comprised of educational and cultural relevant sights in Canada and allow students to learn about Canadian culture, historical events and the origins of the country.

Planning Your Trip

General Travel

Canada offers the traveler a vast amount of cities and sights to see ranging from historical significance, cultural attractions, French provinces and popular destinations. From the big city of Toronto and Montreal to the smaller capital of Ottawa, Canada serves as a huge buffet for a traveler to pick and choose from a personal interest.

Putting the idea of going abroad into actual planning is a huge step to take. So, let’s go over some planning techniques that can help you choose the program that fits your interests and a few requirements you may have to face in the application process.

  • Read the small print: Researching and reading thoroughly through information on any summer program means understanding each and every aspect of that program. Many programs are found online and therefore don’t provide all the intensive details, but rather a basic overview, which means that extra research may be needed. So, don’t be nervous to ask questions, email multiple sources and learn what you think is important.
  • Decision Decisions: Committing to a summer program can both be nerve racking and exciting. Many programs have requirements that must be finished before an applicant can be accepted. These requirements are usually: minimum age, application and valid passport requirements. Since provinces in Canada have French as an official language, some Canadian summer programs may have language proficiency as a requirement as well.
  • Where do I stay?: Many summer programs in Canada that are language immersion, wilderness or marine based house participants in either a home stay with a host family or an on/off-campus housing facility that is being facilitated by counselors affiliated with the program. In a home stay, the participant is provided a private room, usually up to two meals a day and cultural immersion, compared to an on/off-campus housing facility, which pairs participants together in dorm style housing with a cafeteria or independent meal plan in place. Programs arrange housing, whether it is a home stay or in a dorm.
  • Trapped in a classroom?: Many students are afraid that the entire summer will be spent in a Canadian classroom, rather than exploring the beautiful country. Programs take this into consideration when creating imaginative ways to create a new style of teaching that breaks the thought on classrooms being 4-walls in a school, and instead being a trip to a historical significant sight, a cultural attraction or a popular destination in order for students to use their knowledge on the local language and culture.
Financial Costs

Programs range in cost varying upon the specifics of each program. Language immersion summer courses can range between $650-$5,000 depending on length of stay; conservation and wildlife programs can range between $500-$2,000 depending on length of stay; and general traveling or traveling with an educational tour can range between $1,500-$2,500 depending on length of stay. Most programs have a grant and scholarship program to help fund summer sessions for students, compared to general travel and educational tours in which participants have to find their own means of payment.

Popular Destinations

Many programs are based in large and popular destinations in Canada, giving students the opportunities to easily sight-see. Also, programs take participants on field trips based upon, for example, what is learned in the classroom or cultural significant sights integral to understanding Canadian culture, history, or language.

  • Niagara Falls: The massive waterfalls are a beautiful natural wonder in the world that borders the United States and Canada.
  • Pacific Rim National Park: The national park allows all visitors an incredible access to nature. Also, surfing is a huge attraction that brings about many visitors, as well as whale and storm watching, and the West Coast Trail.
  • Cabot Trail (Nova Scotia): The 300 kilometer trail through Nova Scotia, located on the east coast of Canada, allows all visitors the opportunity to experience the gorgeous trail by either car, bicycle or kayak.
  • Victoria: The capital of British Columbia is a popular tourist sight due to the historical buildings, famous landmarks and beautiful climate.
  • Quebec City: The capital of Quebec holds an important significance having been founded in 1608 and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well. Tourists will enjoy the rustic feel of the oldest neighborhoods such as Old Port and Petit Champlain.
  • Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta: This park is made up of fossils from 35 separate species of dinosaur from near 75 million years ago. Drumheller, a city northwest of the park, is where the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology is located.
  • Toronto: The largest city in Canada holds many tourist attractions that include: Harbourfront, Rogers Center, Toronto islands and the CN Tower. The Canadian National Exhibition, held in Toronto from mid-August to early September, provides visitors the opportunities to see a wide variety of innovations.
  • Montreal: Located in Quebec, this rustic French-speaking city allows visitors to step back in time to experience an older culture.
  • Banff: Located in Alberta, Banff offers a stunning view of Lake Louise, an up and coming art scene, and is home to the Banff National Park.
  • Calgary: Famous for the Calgary Stampede held every July, the rodeo atmosphere and old western spirit is very much alive year round in this popular city.
  • Ottawa: The capital of Canada, this city holds many beautifully preserved historical sites as well as an extremely pedestrian friendly city layout that allows for visitors to get around easily.
Last Minute Preparations

Visitors can stay within the country of Canada without a visa for no longer than 180 days, which means that a summer spent in Canada is a visa free process. However, students under the age of 18 must comply with the regulations of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act due to being labeled as a minor; carrying a letter authorizing travel is highly recommended. Visitors can also benefit from a visit to a traveling nurse who can inform you of the needed vaccinations for the country, optional shots and health conditions of Canada to better prepare your body for the new environment.

Contributed by Samantha Coughran
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