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Youth engagement

FAQ

What if I have youth that have special needs?

We strongly believe that all youth should have equal access to participation in Experiences Canada Exchanges. As such we provide limited funding to support the inclusion of youth with special needs or disabilities, from low-income households, rural or isolated areas and other needs on a case-by-case basis.

What kind of insurance do I need to get?

All Experiences Canada participants are covered by a group accident insurance plan during the two weeks of their exchange. Travel or cancellation insurance, which includes emergency hospital/medical insurance, is not part of Experiences Canada’s plan however it can be purchased directly from our travel provider, or through family plans or independent insurance providers.

What kinds of activities are involved?

The types of activities you do with your twin group should generally reflect the local culture, community, and history of where your group is located. Current guidelines from Canadian Heritage require that a minimum of 30% of each exchange week’s activities be historical or heritage related. Additional activities may reflect specific thematic exchanges and can be organized accordingly for music, sports, leadership, outdoor education, anti-bullying discussions, and more. In collaboration with the twin group organizer, each group designs a hosting week program that shows off their own community and meets the objectives of each group’s exchange learning plan and Canadian Heritage’s guidelines. Please note that all participants in both groups must participate in all activities during both halves of the exchange.

How much will an exchange cost and who pays these costs?

Each group pays a membership fee upon submitting an application, and then a per participant registration fee once an exchange has been approved and confirmed. The travel costs between community airports are paid for by Experiences Canada with funding from Exchanges Canada at the Department of Canadian Heritage. Participants are, however, liable for the full price of the ticket if they cancel and the group is not able to find a replacement up to 1 week prior to scheduled travel. In such cases, Experiences Canada will invoice the participant. The cost of local activities and excursions during the exchange is paid for by the groups through self-financing. The average cost per youth varies from $300-$500 depending on the activities and excursions chosen. Many groups organize fundraising events to help cover the cost of activities and local transportation when hosting their twin group.

What if I have other questions?

Experiences Canada staff are available Monday through Friday from 8:30am-4:30pm (Eastern Standard Time) to answer any and all of your questions.

Testimonials

On my exchange, I became friends with people who spoke a totally different language, living at the other side of Canada. We became very close friends and I realized that the only thing blocking myself off from other people were not “cultural differences” or "language barriers"... it was myself! After my exchange, I took the extra leap to run for student... — Lauren Lee of Vancouver BC
There is no better way to see the diversity in Canada than to go to a new community, with a different culture and completely immerse yourself into the culture and the community. With my exchange, I realized that life doesn’t always have to be busy, like it is in Edmonton, my home-town. Now I have an interest in experiencing new cultures - not as a tourist... — Samuel Geisterfer of Edmonton AB
It may sound strange, but, I didn’t expect I’d really have to use English to communicate on my exchange. What a shock when I got to Redcliff, and was left alone with my Alberta parents who didn’t know a single word of French! I felt really lost… But with a full range of gestures, facial expressions and sounds, and lots of laughter and patience, we... — Léola Muntu-Caron of La Pocatière QC
My exchange opened my eyes to new cultures and experiences, which have increased my knowledge of our nation. The family I was placed with emigrated from the Netherlands in 2000. The Experiences Canada exchange program is the only program that I know of that allows you to personally experience another culture by being totally immersed in it... — Sarah Simpson of Cavendish PEI
On my exchange, I experienced many new things which include...plane ride, public transport, NHL game, walking in a cave (spelunking) Hard Rock Cafe, first night in jail (we can explain!), first time to parliament, first time skiing on a real mountain, skating on the canal. Experiences Canada helped me experience Canada for the first time, and now I’m... — Myles Gallant of Cavendish PEI