Formative experiences

During their educational journey, some adolescents decide to take a break before post-secondary studies or entering the workforce. By pausing for a while, they afford themselves the chance to grow in a different way, to perhaps make more enlightened life decisions and better prepare themselves for the rest of their academic or career development. These breaks can certainly be beneficial insofar as the young person has a plan that will give them essential tools to discover their real interests and develop various skills.

Young people must be well advised to select the most suitable project or organization for them, and they must be aware of the consequences such a trip has on their career path. For this reason, it is important to consult resource people to help make the right choices for an internship, work or exchange program in another country, and to plan all stages of the trip AND the return home.

The Government of Canada offers very useful online tools for finding information to help them plan study, work or travel plans abroad, and in Canada.

Some relevant addresses

To help your child make the right choice, we suggest that you visit the websites of some organizations that offer structured and learning-based youth programs. Note that these are only suggestions of organizations (cultural trips and language exchanges) and that there are many more.


SUCO is a Canadian international co-operation organization founded in 1961. A large team of volunteers and interns carry out sustainable development projects aimed at strengthening the autonomy of people, organizations and communities in seven countries: Burkina Faso, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Peru and Senegal. SUCO offers Government of Canada voluntary co-operation programs and international youth internship programs.

The Canadian Red Cross

The Canadian Red Cross works to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing people in Canada and around the world. The Canadian Red Cross is a leading humanitarian organization in which people volunteer for those in need.

Québec sans frontières (QSF) (in French)

Québec sans frontières is an initiation into international solidarity that allows Quebec youth aged 18 to 35 to engage socially and collectively by supporting local community initiatives in the South, and to live their daily lives in an educational perspective of global citizenship.

CECI (in French)

CECI’s mission is to fight poverty and exclusion. To this end, CECI strengthens the economic development capacities of disadvantaged communities; it supports initiatives for equality between women and men, the fight against violence, food security, resilience and adaptation to climate change; it mobilizes resources and promotes the exchange of knowledge.


Oxfam works to strengthen its partners and allies in developing countries in the design and implementation of lasting solutions to poverty and injustice. It mobilizes Canadians in the expression of its solidarity. Oxfam pursues the following objectives: put an end to the causes of poverty; put economic and social justice at the top of the global agenda; to be a dynamic player in the global citizen movement for a more just world.

AFS Canada

AFS Interculture Canada is a non-profit organization that promotes intercultural exchange and community involvement through international programs offered to youth and adults.

ASSE Canada

ASSE allows you to experience life as a high school student in another country and learn a new language and culture by living with a host family and attending a local high school.


Katimavik is a pan-Canadian youth volunteer program founded in 1977 by Jacques Hébert. The classic program was aimed at young Canadians between the ages of 17 and 21, allowing them to travel, learn the second official language and gain new work and group life experiences.

Québec sans frontières (in French)

The Quebec Without Borders (QSF) program allows Quebecers between the ages of 18 and 35 to carry out international solidarity projects.

VIT Canada (in French)

The V.I.T is a training program combining work and vacation in an English-speaking environment. It is aimed at students aged 15 to 17 who wish to improve their knowledge of English.

Education First

EF offers a wide range of educational programs, whether it is to study abroad, take a language trip or simply to go abroad for an academic year.


Explore allows students to take a language study trip to improve knowledge of one of Canada’s two official languages.

AFS Canada

International programs for students, young adults and teachers.

Information and services for Young Canadians

Useful information and cultural programs for young people from the Government of Canada.

VIT Canada

The V.I.T is a training program combining work and vacation in an English-speaking environment. It is aimed at students aged 15 to 17 who wish to improve their knowledge of English.

Séjours linguistiques VTE (in French)

Agency specializing in language stays for cultural immersion trips.


The YMCA’s summer language camps offer programs in French and English. Young people divide their time between language lessons given by qualified teachers and daily camp activities.

Inspired by a text by Sonia Bourget, SARCA counsellor, CSDN