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Dear parents

You think about sending your child with STS on a cultural exchange in the near future. In this context, I would like to give you an overview of what you, as parents, can expect from STS and what we expect from our students. Our aim here is to answer all your questions.
This exchange program is based on responsibility, safety and quality, a motto that STS wants to accomplish daily. Your child will live a great experience in another country. There will be ups and downs, as it is also the case in everyday life in Canada.

The following will be assessed:

  • The application process
  • Placement and departure to the Host Country
  • Expectations of STS
  • Calendar
  • What is included, other costs and options

I also invite you to read the Testimonials from parents in our newsfeed as well as our section of Frequently Asked Questions. Once you read this section, if you still have questions, I invite you to fill out the My STS Advisor form or see our Contact Page for our details.
Looking forward to counting you among our STS families soon.

Yannick Bécu
Director

Application Process

To enroll in a cultural exchange program, the first step is to complete the application form which is shortly followed by a personal interview. This interview is, if possible, face to face or by Skype. During this interview, we study the student’s goals and desires to make sure that the student and parents’ expectations correspond to what we can offer. We strongly encourage the students to list a choice of 3 countries in order of preference.

After the interview, a pre-approval is given while waiting to receive the complete file. Pre-accepted students must complete an online application to be forwarded to the host country. This process should not take longer than three weeks. Upon reception of your completed application, your first payment must be received. This is when you accept that your child is enrolled in the STS exchange program.

The complete file is mandatory. It contains information on you, the parents and the student. There are also medical records, which must be completed with a copy of vaccinations. STS must receive the entire file returned within 3 weeks to give us the opportunity to fully review it with your help before sending it to the host country.

While completing this application, it is important that you keep to reality as much as possible. This means that if your child is not a morning person or not good at keeping his room tidy, write it down. It is important for the potential host family to get the utmost honesty in a positive approach along with a photo of your child as soon as possible. Receiving the complete file allows us to confirm your registration in the host country.

When the file is complete and STS was accepted, it is sent to the host country. The process begins and the local office STS starts its search for a host family for your child. We accept applications throughout the year. First come, first served. Some countries have a limited capacity and fill up quickly. Apply early!

A student exchange brings a lot of changes for the parents and the students. The sooner you do it, the better you will manage your time and preparation. Also, finding the right volunteer family for each student usually takes 10 to 12 weeks. Potential volunteer host family need that time to make sure it is the right decision for everyone.

STS has offices and partners in many countries. All are approved by the local authorities. We invite you to visit our accreditations. We find our host families through our local network, schools intranet or through local youth organizations. In addition, we publish ads and online advertising in various media.

STS sees preparation for leaving as a priority for students and parents. For this reason, we hold an orientation meeting before departure for all students. We then answer all questions. Interaction between all the departing students and parents makes the day even richer. STS staff is present to answer your questions about the Host Family, the Area Representative, school, leisure, visas, insurance, pocket money and more.

Placement and departure to the host country

When STS receives your Host Family placement, we call you right away to share the good news and confirm it by email. On top of the Host Family details, you will get the departure date. Some will be placed soon after their file is sent, others just a few days before departure. It is important to note that the placement date has nothing to do with the quality of the application for your child.

Many families think it is a big decision to open their home to an exchange student and this is why they take their time in front of such a responsibility. For this reason, most of the host family placements occur around June for a Fall departure and in December for a Spring departure. It usually takes 10 to 12 weeks before approving a new host family and school to confirm. STS always assures a placement in a host family for each departing student.

When departure is near, you receive information, including insurance and air transport. Groups of at least 20 young people get an escort on international flights. Flights to the US are not in a group as to get the most direct connection from every Province International Airport to your Host Family.

Departures are from Montreal Trudeau Airport (YUL). Departures to Asia, Australia and New Zealand and Latin America can be organized from other International Canadian Airports such as Toronto Pearson (YYZ) or Vancouver (YVR).

During the exchange, via our Facebook page, parents and students are kept informed about STS news in the host country, but also in Canada. Furthermore, we are constantly working to improve our program and on this basis, we will send you online surveys to complete.

STS Expectations

It is important that you, parents, prepare your child for a successful exchange. Some students expect an all-inclusive vacation package and consider school abroad as non-important. That is not the case at all. The local school registration allows your child visa issuance. For this reason, your child must attend classes and must provide the necessary efforts to maintain a proper attitude and behavior.

The best approach to a successful exchange is to stay humble right from the start, be an active family member and not to expect to be a guest in the host family. Your child will be part of the daily life of a host family. Host families will love to know and learn more about Canada and its culture, it is important that your child is familiar with general information about Canada and he or she is ok to talk about our country. Believe it or not, but some exchange students know nothing of their country of origin and do not even want to talk about it. It is also a good habit to get your child to wash his clothes and keep his or her room clean, and why not provide your child with a typical recipe to prepare on a special occasion at the host family’s.

Our experience shows that sending one’s child on an exchange implies an important personal investment. Emphasis is put on parents to prepare the students to have the right expectations and to avoid homesickness. By doing this, you well prepare your child for the exchange. Sometimes, unfortunately parents forget the importance of their own role when their child is gone.

We must, each year, contact some parents and ask them to stop calling their child several times a week. Parents call their child to express their love and the fact that they miss him or her at home. It leads to the student’s discomfort and homesickness. Integration is then weakened in his host family home and with his new friends. No parent wants that. Think twice. Clear your mind from what could hurt your child abroad before any contact. Also make sure to stay in touch regularly but no more than twice a month.

During the year, your child will discover a different culture where everything will be new, exciting and different every day. Your child will feel homesick especially during the first 2-6 weeks after his arrival, around his birthday or Christmas. It is usually during these periods, as parents, you feel the need to be in close contact. We understand that it is important to speak. Do you need to talk about a particular point during this phase? Contact STS instead of contacting your child. This can cause unnecessary negative reactions. STS is here to help you in all situations and we want the best for your child.

Testimonials read or heard have undoubtedly been a fantastic experience, but all students have individual episodes that are difficult for them. When situations arise that are difficult (homesickness, misunderstanding, culture shock ...) and it's going to happen, it is important that your child looks for local support. The easiest way for him or her is to contact the Area Representative in the host country. As we, in Canada, are here to help and support the parents. It is worth mentioning that each STS office in the host country has an emergency phone access 24/7 so that the student can always contact an STS staff at any time.

To ensure the safety of our students, STS has established a set of rules. STS expects that those rules are followed. Students jeopardizing their safety or the safety of others will be sent home immediately.

All students know our rules and expectations through our STS rules. We manage minor problems with verbal advice, and if necessary by sending a letter of warning and then a probation. Each step is a warning to students. For example for a too frequent absenteeism at school, or if he does not do his homework or if there all the time in his room instead of getting involved in the family home. The student will be asked to sign this warning in order to understand the gravity of the situation. It states what needs to be improved and over what period.

It should be noted that STS takes very seriously the regulatory framework. Every student in an offside situation will be placed on probation. We expect that students act in a responsible manner when abroad. Students not respecting the local law (alcohol, cigarettes, drugs…) will be automatically sent home.

We have seen so many young people who have experienced the most incredible years of their lives. Give your child this gift and let him live his or her experience in another country. This is a gift for life.

STS Calendar

This schedule will allow us to give you and your teen an overview of important dates at STS Canada over a full year.

End of October
  • Deadline to file scholarships for Spring departures.
End of November
  • Orientation Meeting for departures in January.
  • The jury selects STS Spring scholars. The amount of the scholarship is communicated to the winners.
December
  • Activity of Christmas with foreign exchange students in Canada.
  • Spring students will receive, about 3 weeks prior to departure, an email with an envelope containing your electronic ticket, a list of what to pack, your insurance, etc.. as well as other useful information before your flight.
  • All invoices for departures in January must be fully paid.
Late January
- Early February
  • Spring Departures
  • Arrival of foreign exchange students in Canada
End of March
  • Deadline for many STS countries for summer departures (5 or 10-month stays).
End of April
  • Deadline to file scholarship for summer departures.
May
  • Orientation Meeting for Fall departures.
  • STS assists students to apply for a visa (for stays longer than 3 months). Instructions and application process documentation will be sent to you.
  • The jury selects STS Fall scholars. The amount of the scholarship is communicated to the winners.
June
  • Fall students will receive, about 3 weeks prior to departure,an email with an envelope containing your electronic ticket, a list of what to pack, your insurance, etc.. as well as other useful information before your flight.
  • All invoices for summer departures must be fully paid.
July
  • Departures to Southern Hemisphere countries (Argentina, Australia, New Zealand…).
August
  • Majority of departures.
  • Arrival of foreign exchange students in Canada.
September
  • Latest departures to some European countries.
What is included, other costs and options

Here is a description of what is included in our program fee, and separated expenses you can expect.

The program fee includes:

  • Advice and guidance during the registration process
  • Orientation meeting
  • Guaranteed placement in a Host Family and in a secondary school in the chosen country
  • Flight to / from Montreal airport (other airports, please consult us) to the Host Family home
  • STS T-shirt and backpack
  • The required documents for obtaining a student visa
  • An escort on long-haul flight for any group of 20 and over
  • A welcome meeting in the host country
  • School tuition
  • Accommodation and meals at the Host Family home (excluding lunch taken at school)
  • Local supervision and support with STS Area Representatives and the STS office in the host country. Our staff is always available to help and support throughout the exchange
  • An emergency number available 24/7 in every host country

 

The program fee does not include:

 

  • Interview fee
  • Health insurance, accident, liability
  • Visa fees (varies depending on the host country)
  • SEVIS US$ 180 (only for students going to the United States)
  • OSHC AU$ 400 (only for students going to Australia)
  • Required Vaccinations
  • Pocket money - STS recommends $200 per month
  • Optional tours in the host country

 

The options are:

 

  • Preparation Course (transfers, accommodation, courses, visits, activities, coaching ...) in the following cities:
    • New York, USA
    • Paris, France
    • Milan, Italy
    • Barcelona, Spain
    • Sydney, Australia

Preparation courses are only open to students going on exchange in the specific country. The cost of this optional trip is $1250.

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Last days!

Very last days to send back your file for a Fall 2017 departure! Hurry up and be on your way this summer to your dream destination!

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