Common questions from past participants
Do I have to speak French?
You will be working in your second official language - French - for six weeks, from the beginning of July until mid-August - so it is important you have basic French language skills. As well, you will be staying with a French speaking host / host family so speaking some French will help you get the most of your homestay experience. Your language ability will greatly improve over the course of the program!
Who is eligible for the program?
If your community is participating in the program and you will be 16 or 17 years of age during the program (you must be at least 16 on July 1 and no older than 17 years of age on August 10), you are eligible.
What types of jobs are provided?
Employers are non-profit, public-sector and community organizations that set aside jobs for program participants. For example, you could be working as a junior monitor in a day camp or help organize a community program recreation centre. We make every attempt to find each student employment at a location near their homestay. Each work placement offers the participant a solid learning opportunity.
Is there a program fee?
Yes, there is a $100 non-refundable participant fee to secure your space once you have been selected. Your travel to your host community and home again is paid for by the Summer Work Student Exchange Program. You will stay with a host / host family and a student will stay in your home and work in your community. You are responsible, however, for your own expenses, just as you would be at home. Your group will take part in a range of activities throughout the program. The activities vary from one community to the next. Although all planned activities will be covered, a few optional activities may require participants' financial contribution. If you are unable to pay the $100 fee, please let us know. We do our best to ensure that every youth who wants to participate has the chance to do so.
Who sponsors the program?
The Summer Work Student Exchange program is administered by the YMCA of Greater Toronto. There is minimal cost to participants thanks to the Department of Canadian Heritage, which supports this program financially through Exchanges Canada. This financial support helps to cover participant's travel, salaries and related project costs.
I don't have a social insurance number. What should I do?
You must have a social insurance number (SIN) to work in Canada, and to participate in the program. For information on obtaining a number, go to: http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/sc/sin/index.shtml
What if my family is unable to host?
While the structure of our program is based upon reciprocal exchange, we are sometimes able to consider exceptions. We encourage students to look for an alternative host / host family (for example; an aunt and uncle, a neighbor, a teacher), if their family cannot host their exchange partner.
Does host family mean a 2 parent household?
No! We use the word family in a general sense. What is important is that each youth will be hosted by someone / people who are responsible and welcoming to the visiting student. The host / host family is excited to engage with the student in their home, provide a safe environment for their guest and provide meals (sharing some of those meal times each week with the participant). Single parents, extended family, guardians and interested hosts are welcome!