Canadian High School Explorer

Your Canadian High School experience…at a lower cost

Welcome to our Canadian High School Explorer program! In this lower-cost, no-choice academic year option, CISS places you in an Ontario city or town where you’ll be one of only a few international students in the school. Placement locations are in “off the beaten path” destinations, giving you a truly unique Canadian high

Canadian Explorer

Key Facts


Specifically selected locations in Ontario


15 or 16 years old


Grade 10 and Grade 11


5 or 10 months

English Level

Intermediate + (CEFR B1+)


Local Coordinator

Canadian Explorer

All the details to your experience!

The Canadian Explorer is a High School programme exclusively developed by CISS. We use our 40+ Experience to find the best location, school and host family according to your profile.

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The General English + Activity option is the ideal choice for international summer students who want to improve their English.  With this option, students receive 10 hours of English as a Second Language (ESL) lessons per week. This includes classroom instruction in speaking, listening, reading and writing, with a focus on helping students of all proficiency levels to improve in their fluency and accuracy of speech.

English lessons comprise two of the five daily periods. You can then choose different land, water, or art activities to fill the remaining two or three periods. 


The programme is a classic High School programme, but with a lower cost. Students interested in the programme submit their applications for the programme and we select where in Ontario the student will be placed for their experience. Multiple characteristics are taken into consideration so a matching process can happen considering the community, the school and the host family student will be placed with.

To be eligible, you must be:

  • aged 15 or 16 years / Ready to enter Grade 10 or 11
  • seeking to study for the full school year (10 months, September-June) or a semester (5 months, September-January OR February-June) – short term not available
  • prepared to remain in Canada for the full duration of your program
  • seeking an English-language placement (French placements not available)
  • a good student with 70% or higher average and no specific course requests (other than covalidation needs – extra fees may apply)
  • at an intermediate+ English proficiency level (recommended CEFR B1+) and can easily integrate into high school classes without need for English language support
  • in good health with no allergies or other needs that could seriously affect your homestay placement
  • open-minded about your host family, knowing that they will be ready to welcome you into their home regardless of their cultural origin or family composition
  • open to being placed in any of the communities as selected by CISS for this program
  • not expecting any special or high level sport or artistic pursuits outside what is offered through your school or community
  • independent and ready to work through challenges on your own, with minimal support (English only) – you can do it!

Our placement options are subject to our ever-changing inventory.

Locations are currently situated in Central and Northern Ontario. 

Communities range in population from approx 8,500  to over 50,000 residents.   

All locations have opportunities for student recreation, including shopping areas (may be a small shopping centre, department stores or local boutiques), movie theatres, coffee shops, libraries, recreational centres and more.

Public transit is not guaranteed in each location.

Selected communities may have one local high school so you will attend school with all other teens in the town, or there may be two or three high schools.

Average size of a high school ranges from 400 students to 1000+.

Transportation to school will depend on how far your host family home is from the school.  School bussing is typically provided if you live more than 3.2km from the school (varies by location).

Students who live within that distance will either walk or ride a bike.  If the town/city has public transit, students can also use public buses to and from school.

  • Ontario public high school 
  • Ontario catholic-public schools
  • Schools typically have between 400-1000 students in Grades 9-12
  • Schools follow a semester system:
  • Semester 1:  (September to January) 4 classes, fully completed
  • Semester 2:  (February to June) 4 new classes, fully completed
  • Schools are equipped with course-specific classrooms, lockers, library, gymnasium(s), sports fields, cafeteria and more
  • Students will either walk to school, take public transit or be eligible for a school bus (depending on the distance from the home)
  • Uniforms are not required

Students live with a local host family and receive:

  • private bedroom in the home
  • 3 meals daily (including a packed lunch for school days)
  • family interaction and support
  • English-speaking environment

Learn more about our homestay.

  • Legal custodianship document
  • 24-hour Emergency telephone assistance
  • Meet & Greet on arrival + transfer to community.  Departure transfer also included.
  • Local English-speaking coordinator to support you and your homestay family
  • Covalidation assistance is possible with a supplemental fee

Schools in different regions have slightly different time schedules. In general, however, students will follow a timetable similar to this: 

Monday – Friday

School begins between 8:00 and 9:00 am  


Typically are 70 to 80 minutes in length & students usually take four or five classes daily  


Usually one class period or one hour in length – between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm  

School Ends

Between 2:30 and 3:30

Application Deadline

For a September 2023 Start (5 or 10 months)

Applications open on January 1 and close on April 15 of the same year. Location and school placements are confirmed by May 1.

For a February 2023 Start (5 months only)

Applications close on October 15 of the previous year. Location and school placements are confirmed by December 1.

Programme Date Options

Full Academic Year: 10 months

Start: Early September

End: End of June

Academic Semester 1: 5 months

Start: Early September

End: End of January


Academic Semester 2: 5 months

Start: Early February

End: End of June


Please contact us for fees

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We love what we do


Answers to your questions

Parents and students may have questions about our programme. We are always glad to answer them, and we have made a collection of the most frequently asked ones.

The CISS Difference

Since 1979, CISS has provided students from around the world the opportunity to come together in Canada for transformative summer learning experiences in traditional camps, language programs in cities, and other adventure experiences. With a focus on fun and unique opportunities to learn, our summer programmes promise to give you the experience—and the Canadian memories—of a lifetime.



Specialized care for the unique needs of students


Motivated, caring and qualified staff


Personal attention


Programmes in locations that suit different interests


Fostering a multicultural and open-minded atmosphere

Apply Now

Ready to start your programme?

We would love to hear from you and to provide you with the full set of documents that are necessary for your application process.

Summer Programmes

With a focus on fun and unique opportunities to learn, our summer programmes promise to give you the experience—and the Canadian memories—of a lifetime.

High School

Whether you’re looking for a more academic environment, specific classes, or a school with great sports, our wide variety of options means we have something for everyone.

Study Tours

Study Tours provide an opportunity for students to practice their English, integrate with local students in a high school, experience life with a host family, enjoy unique activities, and have a genuine Canadian cultural experience.