Canada is the world’s second largest country, spanning from the Pacific to Atlantic Ocean, encompassing a land of tremendous natural beauty, ranging from the arctic tundra in the north to the Great Lakes in the south. Canadians are well known to outsiders for their friendliness, hospitality, and passionate devotion to hockey and other ice sports. Yet, participating in a high school program in Canada will allow you to experience the intricacies of Canada’s culture beyond the surface, learn about its fascinating history, and discover why it remains one of the happiest and healthiest countries in the world.
Canada might be the second largest country in the world by land area, but it is actually very sparsely populated. Only 35 million people live in the “Great White North,” about the same population of people that reside in Uganda, a country roughly 1/50th its size.
Canada consists of ten provinces and three territories. When it comes to English-speaking cities, Vancouver and Victoria in the west, Calgary and Edmonton near the center, and Toronto and Ottawa in the east host the largest number of high school programs. Toronto is Canada’s largest city by a significant margin, with over 5 million residents, and is also the country’s leading global city in many elements of business, arts, and culture.
The most popular cities for high school programs in Canada’s French speaking regions are Quebec City and Montreal. Though English is a common second language in these cities, French is spoken at home by the majority of the population, making both of the latter cities great locations for high school students who want to expand their French language skills. French Canada (primarily centered in the province of Quebec) is a fascinating place to travel and live, as it is quite distinct culturally from the rest of the country.
Some high school programs in Canada will also take you on a tour of multiple cities throughout Canada, so you aren’t forced to choose just one. These programs typically tend to be more adventure based than academically oriented.
High School Programs in Canada
Many high school programs in Canada run in the summertime and are focused around understanding Canadian culture and history. Canada’s historical development and diversity of cultural influences, ranging from the indigenous peoples who first populated the area to its gradual enjoinment to the global stage under British, French, and Russian influence, make for a fascinating tale of nationhood.
Language study is another option for high school programs in Canada. Those who speak English as a second language can advance to a new level of mastery before college by enrolling in one of the many ESL programs located across Canada. Students of French can also benefit from speaking the language everyday during a high school program abroad in the French-Canadian territory of Quebec.
Most high school programs in Canada last from two weeks to two months. Longer study abroad programs tend to place students in local high schools, studying alongside Canadian students. But it is also possible to get a head start on your college studies by applying for summer enrollment at a Canadian university. Some schools in Canada, such as the University of Toronto and University of British Columbia, are among the top ranked academic institutions in the world, and open their arms to international exchange students looking to get a jumpstart on their university education through a summer abroad.
Costs & Affordability
Canada is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, boasting an advanced infrastructure and very high quality of life. On the whole, costs of living in Canada are fairly comparable to the United States. Although each high school program in Canada will vary in affordability, the majority of program costs will cover day to day needs.
Accommodation & Visas
Many high school students choose to live with a local host family during their high school program abroad in Canada. This option is a great opportunity to immerse intimately in the Canadian culture while also enjoying the best of northern hospitality. Some high school programs in Canada also offer the choice to live in dormitories with other high school students from around the world, which can be a fun global environment. In both types of accommodation, students will be supervised and accounted for.
Canada’s visa policy varies from country to country, but students from most Western nations will be allowed to enter visa free for up to 90 days. Students coming from other parts of the world will likely have to apply for a student visa before traveling to Canada. For more information on Canada’s visa policy toward you home nation, you can check out GoAbroad’s Embassy Directory.
Benefits & Challenges
Gain Independence. One of the most valuable parts of a high school program abroad is the newfound sense of independence which accompanies traveling the world away from your parents. Embarking on a high school program in Canada will be a very personally rewarding experience and will expose you to what life might be like after graduation.
Get Your Nature Fix. Canada is one of the most geographically impressive countries in the world. The Appalachian Mountains, Great Lakes, Interior Plains, and the Western Cordillera are just a few of the places you can have the opportunity to explore during your high school program in Canada; some of nature’s grandest gifts lie in the vast northern wild of Canada
Live in a Beautiful City. When tired of exploring the great outdoors, you will find plenty of stimulation living in one of Canada’s many great cities. For those students who are not familiar with an urban environment, Canada can provide you the perfect introduction. Canadian cities have some of the highest living standards in the world, and you will never run out of new things to explore.