Student exchanges offer vital opportunities for students to welcome guests into our community and to grow through immersion in and exposure to a different language, place, and culture.
Students in Grade 9 and 10 may apply for a six or seven week exchange in either France or Spain. Not only does the experience improve students’ facility with the target language, but it also builds independence and self-esteem while developing decision-making and leadership skills.
Our students share their experiences...
"I truly loved my exchange..." - Gillian Kiessling
“Going on exchange can be scary. Its a long way from home, you are away from your family, immersed into a culture that you might not know a lot about. However, it can also be one of the best and amazing and memorable experiences of your whole life. When an exchange was first proposed to me, my immediate reaction was NO! However, after weeks of thought and worry, I eventually took a risk and signed all the papers. It was a terrifying process, waiting for the files from my future exchange partner. But when I got my files from my partner I had found my dream home. It was a small town of 5000 people with a larger town near to it, set in the middle of the Aurvergne region in France. My partner, to my delight, liked all the same things that I did and did many of the activities that I loved. After a very successful time with Pauline in Canada, I was much more reassured about life with her family. We even organized a ski trip with our two families at Christmas. And despite the sometimes scary teachers and the demanding workload, and the fear of falling too far behind to catch up (which was unfounded as it turns out) I truly loved my exchange. I gained confidence in myself, a speed and fluency in French that I had never imagined I would have, friendships that will last me a lifetime and memories that I will never forget. Even after my exchange was over, we still visit each other in our respective homes. I have stories of the wildest ski trip of my life, and of crazy horses that I would ride sometimes 3 times a week, and of some of the amazing people that I met and learned from. My exchange was a time for me to go out into the big wide world and have fun, to experience cultures and traditions that I would never normally have a chance to experience. Overall, it was the trip of a lifetime and I will never forget my family across the sea.”
- Gillian Kiessling, Grade 11
“An exchange through The York School was an amazing experience that changed my life and one I will never forget. My buddy was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed having someone live in my house, it was a new experience for me but it was truly educational, to learn to live with a complete stranger for 6 weeks. As well, I met an amazing group of people when I went to Australia and I made a lot of friends that I will remember forever. The opportunity is priceless, I got to travel all over a country I've never been too before and see all the landmarks that Australia is known for. I loved my time in Australia and I would highly recommend an exchange to Australia or others for everyone, it was truly nothing I would ever forget.”
- Noah Powers, Grade 11