Toronto is not only Canada’s financial, commercial, and cultural capital, it is also the fourth largest city in all of North America and a major global hub with big influence in the international arena. High school students who want to experience the beautiful scenery and warm hospitality of Canada, without sacrificing any of the stimulation that comes with city life, would do well to consider Toronto as a top destination for high school programs abroad. It is a thriving metropolis, uniquely influential in many spheres, and can be host to one of the most memorable experiences of your young academic career.
High School Programs in Toronto
There are a few main types of high school programs in Toronto for international students. The first, and most typical, are study abroad programs. Students can earn academic credit over the summer while taking classes in a variety of fields at local high schools in Toronto. Courses are often centered around Canadian culture and history, but are usually available in other disciplines as well. Some local universities, such as the University of Toronto, which is one of the highest ranked colleges in the world, also open their doors to international high school students during the summer term.
Exchange programs are another option for high school students who want to take their study abroad experience to the next level. Since it is a major global city, there are many international and boarding schools in Toronto where high school students can study for a full semester or academic year. Students will have to work closely with their home high school to organize the logistics required for such a program, but the effort can be well worth it.
Lastly, cultural exploration and language immersion are common areas of focus for high school programs in Toronto. Cultural exploration programs tend to last just a few weeks and might involve travel throughout several regions of Canada, allowing students to take in the sites and engage in a wide variety of fun and educational activities. Language immersion programs are often geared toward ESL students, and can be a great way to take English comprehension to the next level.
Life in Toronto
At first glance Toronto may not seem like an overly exotic location for high school programs abroad, but this doesn’t change the fact that it is a hugely enriching city. Canada’s cultural capital has been very influential in music, arts, and media, as well as one of the most important centers for business on the continent. During high school programs in Toronto you will never be bored because of a lack of entertainment or opportunity, so take advantage of your surroundings and experience as much of the city as possible while abroad.
Toronto is well known not only for its cultural integrity, but also its architectural and scenic beauty. Sitting along northwestern banks of Lake Ontario, it is hard to imagine a more impressive skyline for the downtown area. The many skyscrapers and high rise buildings form a fantastic view. Rising above the skyline is the iconic CN Tower, the tallest free-standing structure in the Americas.
In addition to the bevy of great restaurants, theaters, and sporting venues, some other popular attractions that you can check out during your high school program in Toronto include the Royal Ontario Museum, Yonge-Dudas Square, and Casa Loma, the only castle of its kind on the continent. Toronto’s rapid transit system efficiently encompasses most of the city, so you will never be too far away from your next destination.
Scholarships & Costs
There are a variety of scholarships available for students who want to participate in high school programs in Toronto, so be sure to check these out to help cover the costs of your trip. Toronto can be a fairly expensive city to live in because of its booming economy and high standard of living, so you will want to plan out a strict budget and bring along a small cushion of spending money.
Accommodation & Visas
Accommodations usually vary based on the type of high school program you decide to participate in. For high school study abroad programs in Toronto you will often have the option of living in a homestay with a local host family or in dormitories with other international students. For cultural exploration programs, which involve travel from city to city, you will likely stay in a variety of different accommodations, from hotels to homestays to dorms.
Some high school students will have to obtain a visa in order to travel to Toronto, it all depends on their length of stay and home country. There are 51 countries that are visa exempt for travel to Canada; to see if this applies to you, check out GoAbroad’s Canadian Embassy Directory.
Benefits & Challenges
Go Global. Toronto is ranked as an Alpha global city, meaning that is a major center of international diversity and influence; there are only are only a handful of other cities in the world ranked as highly!
The Great White North. During a high school program in Toronto you will have the opportunity to further explore Canada, the world’s second largest country, which is home to immense geographic and biodiversity. Adventure travelers could not ask for a more beautiful destination.
Great Hospitality. Canadians are commonly considered to be among the nicest people in the world, and friendliness is indeed a hallmark of their culture. During your time in Toronto you will be sure to make tons of new friends!