Going overseas is a great way to improve your skills, learn a different way of doing things, and experience other cultures and languages. Canadian Host Family Association work with partner organizations to provide international exchange opportunities for Canadians, age 18-30, who wish to broaden their agricultural experiences. You must have some agriculture experience or background.
It is possible to get a working holiday visa on your own, and find employment once you arrived in the country of your choice, but with Canadian Host Family Association, you go with the knowledge of a work placement, and support if anything goes wrong. If you or your parents are nervous about you travelling on your own, we can help ease this concern.
We have partner organizations in many countries and types of placements vary by country, but can include crop farming, livestock, equine, enology, horticulture, landscaping, bee keeping. The minimum placement time is 3 months with the maximum being one year. Australia, Germany, Holland, Ireland, New Zealand, Switzerland, Sweden, and United States of America.
Hosts will help you improve your skills, experience life on their farm, explain safety measures, and help you understand local practices.
The common language of most exchange programs is English, and often in European countries people speak English. However, choosing a country where you do not have some knowledge of the language, can make your experience more difficult. Choosing to learn the language can enrich your experience. If you wish we could help you arrange language school in your chosen country. You could choose an English speaking country such as Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, or United States of America.
The wage or stipend will be disclosed on your placement agreement, so that you are aware of the money you will have. Sometimes, a monthly stipend is paid which could be lower than the country’s minimum wage. However, housing is always arranged for trainees, which lowers your cost of living. At the end of this international experience you will often “break even” , or sometimes save a little money, depending on your spending habits and personal financial situation. Every country has different labour standards, however in most cases, the minimum wage for the country is the approximate wage of a trainee.
Food allowance is different for every country. In some places, the trainee eats with their host, but in other places trainees must buy and prepare all of their own food. We suggest you ask what your host offers before signing your placement agreement, so you are aware of your situation before you arrive.
Cost varies by the country. We work with partners that provide a good experience to our trainees with a reasonable cost. Your cost would include a placement fee from our country partner organization between $600-$1350, a visa/work permit fee of $100-$300. Canadian Host Family Association does not charge you a fee. You must buy health and travel insurance for your time abroad, which will cost you somewhere between $500-$700 a year. You are responsible for the cost of your roundtrip airfare. Once your placement is finalized, you have received your work permit, we suggest you make your own travel plans. If needed, we would assist you with your travel arrangements. Canadian Host Family Association offers a scholarship for trainees willing to share photos and write a about their experiences overseas. Excluding the cost of airfare, your upfront cost will be $1200 -$2350.
Keep the line of communication open with your host, weekly discussions helps deal with any issues that might arise. It may take time to adjust to a new culture and another language. If at all possible our partner organization will help move you should you encounter a difficult situation. You may be dismissed from the program if you have been dishonest about your experience or ability instead of being sent to another host. We expect you to give your placement a chance, and to make an effort to represent Canada as a great ambassador.
Once we have received your completed application, we will forward your application to our partner depending on the country you choose. Placement will take anywhere between 2-4 weeks depending on the time of year. Upon receipt and acceptance of placement, we would guide you on how to get your visa and work permit by giving you detailed instructions on how to complete it. We encourage you to apply sooner rather than later as the visa paperwork may take between 1 – 8 weeks.
Trainees must be between the age of 18-30 in order to come on this program. Trainees should come with a desire to learn, a willingness to work hard, and wishing to learn about Canadian culture. Trainees have varying amounts of experience. Some are highly skilled, others are developing their skills. Trainees must have some agriculture experience or background. Some trainees are enrolled in university or agricultural technical schools in their home countries.
Trainee’s are responsible for the cost of their airfare to and from Canada, and are responsible for the cost of sufficient medical insurance for the length of their stay in Canada. In some provinces, trainees are eligible for Provincial Health Coverage, but they must also maintain their private insurance, as required by the Canadian Government.
Trainees that are in Canada for at least 6 months are entitled to 3 weeks of unpaid holidays. Often holidays are taken in July, but it must be a mutually agreeable time for both trainee and host. Some hosts pay trainees during their holiday time, rather than paying overtime in each pay period. Canada is a very large country and it is important to realize that driving across it would take 7 days driving or 78-80 hours. It is best to plan on visiting one region of Canada while on holidays. Some trainees also like to take their holidays in the United States. If you are driving across the border, please make sure that your vehicle insurance allow you to do so. If you are travelling to the United States by air you will require an ESTA application which you can find online.
Practical experience in driving machinery is very important with the majority of our host families. You will need a valid driver’s license for your home country, as well as an International Driver’s License to work as a trainee. We also recommend that you bring a driver’s abstract from your home country. This might help you if you wish to register a vehicle in Canada. Machinery maintenance and small repairs are great skills, but not a requirement. Our crop growing season is very short, which means that hosts will most likely require you to work long hours during spring to finish seeding, and during harvest until the crop is off.
If you wish to come to Canada on our agriculture exchange program, please view more information and an application form to see if you have the requirements.