Experience High School life in Canada!


Experience daily life in a Canadian High School, with the opportunity to meet local students, while you apply your English knowledge towards real life situations. In this CISS MLI programme, students will have the opportunity to stay with a local host family, explore Pickering, have one excursion to trendy Toronto,have a ski trip to the Blue Montains and visit the world-famous Niagara Falls. This programme offers a mini high school experience for international students to integrate in the school community.

Host Family

Students will have an immersion experience not only in the school, but also in the their stay with a host family. These are families who are open an excited to integrate international students into their lifestyle and activities. Students are encouraged to come with an open mind so they can gain the greatest benefit from this experience. The family will provide a welcoming environment, as well as a bedroom. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are offered by the host family, and on school days, a bagged lunch will be provided.

LocationPickering, Greater Toronto Area*
Ages14 to 18
AccommodationHomestay with a local Host Family in Single Room
Session Length3 weeks: Jan 3 - Jan 24, 2021
Excursions1 day to Toronto, 1 Ski Trip to Blue Montains and 1 to Niagara Falls
MealsBreakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Dates and Fees 2021

All fees are in Canadian Dollars $CAD

Attention: Dates and Prices for 2022 Departing
January 23rd, 2022
January 2nd, 2022
3 Weeks


  • Airport meet and greet by CISS/MLI staff
  • Roundtrip transfers (YYZ - Pearson International) – for arrivals on January 03, between 5am and 6am, and for departures on January 24 after 8pm.
  • Homestay accommodation with daily meal in single room. Double placement in the same homestay is available for students upon request and dependent on another student of the same gender wanting the same.
  • Attend local Canadian high school
  • Listed activities and excursions
  • Admission to CN Tower (Toronto), Blue Mountain (Ski Trip) and Journey Behind the Falls (Niagara Falls)
  • School bus on Toronto excursion
  • Canadian Buddy at local school
  • On site program coordinator
  • Program Completion Certificate
  • Invitation Letter
  • 24 hour emergency support services
  • All applicable taxes


  • Transfer for arrivals before 05am or 8:00 AM January 03rd + $ 150 CAD
  • Transfer for departures before 8:00 PM on January 24th + $ 150 CAD
  • Custodianship Document - Exclusively for student requiring a Canadian Visa - $ 100 CAD
  • Flight ticket
  • Visa Fees
  • Unaccompanied minor fees (if applicable)


A non-refundable CAD $200 deposit must be made at the time of application with the booking agent with the balance of payment due by November 15, 2021 (3-week program).

We accept bank wire transfers or credit card payments (VISA, Master, AMEX; Note: credit card payments are charged an additional 3% handling fee). 

*Attention: Community or School can change according to availability. Should this happen, students will be informed accordingly.

Taxes are included. Information updated: April 30, 2020


Toronto Excursion

Students will leave Pickering together and go to Toronto, the capital of Ontario and largest city in Canada. There, they will visit the CN Tower, the Toronto City Hall, University of Toronto and the Parliament Building.

Inclusions: Private bus transportation, bagged lunch provided by the host family, chaperone and tickets to the CN Tower.

Attention: with a focus on student's safety, individual trips to Toronto are not allowed. Students are welcome to join trips with their Host Family if the family is going to Toronto.

Blue Mountain

Located around 2 hours from Pickering, the Blue Mountain is the largest mountain resort in Ontario. A charming village welcomes visitors in both summer and the winter, with shops and restaurants. Students will have the opportunity to ski and enjoy the day in a great ski trip.

Inclusions: Private bus transportation, bagged lunch provided by the host family, chaperone, tickets for the ski lifts, ski lesson and ski rentals.

Niagara Falls

Students will leave Pickering and head to Niagara Falls. On this excursion, they will be able to see the amazing Falls, and go on a Journey Behind it. They will also visit the Table Rock Complex and have some fun on the attractions of Clifton Hill. On the way back, we will stop at the Outlet Collection at Niagara for a couple of hours of shopping.

Inclusions: Private bus transportation, bagged lunch provided by the host family, chaperone and tickets to the Journey Behind the Falls.


Pickering, Greater Toronto Area, ON*

The City of Pickering like many other communities in this region is a fast-growing suburban community. Located approximately 40 km from Toronto’s city centre (and only 20 km from the eastern edge of Toronto), Pickering is considered by many to be an extension of the GTA - Greater Toronto Area. Rich in artistic events such as Artfest, Theatre in the Park and other musical entertainment, Pickering is also a recent advocate of environmental and sustainable lifestyle. The Waterfront Trail is a scenic haven for cycling, in-line skating and leisurely strolls. Pickering was recently recognized by Canadian Living magazine as, “the best place in Canada to raise a family”.

St. Mary's Catholic Secondary School*

The school accepts students of all faiths and religions (as well as non-religious). It was founded in 1987 and is home for around 1560 students. It also offers many courses in different areas. Participants of the January High School Experience programme will be able to indicate their preferred subjects, and should there be availability, CISS MLI will work with the school to place them. Besides the classrooms with smart boards, the school also has science labs, computer labs, art studios, music rooms, photography studio/darkroom, dance studio, cooking studio, 1 double + 1 single gymnasium, student weight/fitness room, outdoor playing fields and running track, technology wing, full–service cafeteria, library, and a chapel.

* Community or School can change according to availability. Should this happen, students will be informed accordingly.


Sun - Jan 2 Mon - Jan 3 Tue - Jan 4 Wed - Jan 5 Thu - Jan 6 Fri - Jan 7 Sat - Jan 8
Arrival in the morning in Toronto, meeting host family in Pickering Programme Orientations, School Tour and School Experience School Experience School Experience School Experience School Experience Toronto excursion: CN Tower, Toronto City Hall, China Town, University of Toronto, Parliament Building

Sun - Jan 9 Mon - Jan 10 Tue - Jan 11 Wed - Jan 12 Thu - Jan 13 Fri - Jan 14 Sat - Jan 15
With Host Family School Experience School Experience School Experience School Experience School Experience Full day ski/snowboard trip to the Blue Mountain Resort

Sun - Jan 16 Mon - Jan 17 Tue - Jan 18 Wed - Jan 19 Thu - Jan 20 Fri - Jan 21 Sat - Jan 22
With Host Family School Experience School Experience School Experience School Experience Niagara excursion: Journey Behind the Falls, Table Rock Complex, Clifton Hill With Host Family

Sun - Jan 23 Mon - Jan 24 Tue - Jan 25 Wed - Jan 26 Thu - Jan 27 Fri - Jan 28 Sat - Jan 29
With Host family for the day and depart for Toronto Airport (YYZ) in the evening.    


When at school*, students should expect to have the following schedule:

Time Activity
09:00 - 10:20 Announcements and Period 1
10:25 - 11:40 Period 2
11:40 - 12:20 Period 3A or Lunch 1
12:20 - 13:00 Period 3B or Lunch 2
13:00 - 13:40 Period 3C or Lunch 3
13:45 - 15:00 Period 4

Lunch time is determined by the school according to student's courses.

* Community or School can change according to availability. Should this happen, students will be informed accordingly.

For Parents

What will students in this program do while they’re in Canada?

Students will spend 3 weeks in a Canadian high school with local Canadian students complemented by 3 excursions: Toronto, Niagara Falls and Blue Mountains.

This programme happens at the end of the semester in Canada when there are tests and projects being finalized. Students may have limited participation in some specific activities within the courses they are taking, but still have an immersion experience.

What is the objective of the program?

Students will have a chance to do some local sightseeing in the Toronto area, as well as visit Niagara Falls and Blue Mountains, but the main objective of the program is to experience a local Canadian school. They will learn what Canadian high schools are like, have a chance to practice their English, and make some new friends in another country. They wi ll also have a homestay experience to learn more about Canadian family culture and traditions with all its diversities. The focus of the program is on the experience and integration. As these are the final weeks of the school semester, the focus is not an academic one.

What is included in the price? What is excluded?

Please check the Dates and Fees session of this page.

Where will this program take place?

Students will arrive at Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) and then be transferred to Pickering (a little over one our east of Toronto) where they will attend a local public high school. The location of the programme may change based on availability. Should this happen, students will be informed accordingly and beforehand.

Where will the other students be from?

Most students will be from Brazil, as the programme happens during their summer holidays. But it is open for students from around the world.

Is there are maximum number of students you can take?  

There are 20 spaces available

What is the minimum language level?

We recommend that students have at least an intermediate understanding of English for better enjoyment and integration in the program. There are no language assessment tests required by CISS. 

Are English lessons part of the program?

No, the purpose of the program is a local Canadian high school experience, so there are no formal English lessons. Students may choose to join a regular ongoing English class, if there are spaces available.

When is the application deadline?

Monday, November 15, 2021 (or until the program is full).                     

What is the Cancellation & Refund Policy?
  • Cancellation received before Nov 30 2021: We will return 100% of any program fees paid, less the non-refundable $200 deposit.
  • Cancellation received from Nov 30 to Dec 16 2021: 70% of program fee will be returned.
  • Cancellation received on and after Dec 16 2021: No refund available.
When will homestay information be received?

On Monday, December 20th, 2021

Can students arrive the day before or after the program begins?

We can accommodate arrivals one day early. Students will be charged an additional arrival transfer fee of $ 150.00 CAD, to be added to student’s invoice and paid by the deadline. An arrival after the program begins will impact the student experience and therefore cannot be accommodated.

Can students depart early or stay after the program end date?

We are able to accommodate early departures due to emergencies or better flights.  Students will be charged an additional departure transfer fee of $ 150.00 CAD, to be added to student’s invoice and paid by the deadline. There is no refund for unused portions of the program. A departure after the end date of the program cannot be accommodated.

What should parents who are nervous about their child flying alone do for transportation?

Most airlines offer Unaccompanied Minor (“UM”) service for direct international flights into Canada for children aged 12-17. Please consult your airline of choice for further details.

UM service is often not available for transit flights (for example, flights connecting in the United States).

Parents may also accompany their child to Canada if they wish and should consult their booking agent before scheduling flights.  CISS will work with the booking agent on the details of student arrival and possible transfers. Transfers from Toronto Pearson International Airport on specified times below will be included in the price. Other transfer arrangements will have an additional charge.

Which flights should students reserve?

Based on current flight schedules – which are subject to change – we ask that students ARRIVE in the following time frame:

• Between 5 am and 8:00 am;

For the departure, we ask that students choose flights that DEPART:

• Between 8 pm and 11:30 pm.

(Arrivals/departures outside of these times may be possible but will be subject to a $150 CAD transfer fee; please consult your booking agent BEFORE making any travel arrangements that fall outside of the official times listed above.)

Do I need to have overseas medical insurance?

Yes! Emergency medical insurance is mandatory for all students in the program and is included in the price of the programme. Only emergency medical insurance is included. The programme does not include travel insurance.

What documents do students need to submit to apply?
  1. Application Form and Deposit are due at the time of booking, no later than November 15, 2021     
  2. Passport Copy, Flight information & Balance Payment Form are due by December 04, 2021        
Where should applications and questions be sent?

Please send questions and completed applications to your Booking Agent or contact us here.

How do I know if I’m enrolled?

Once the Application Form and the deposit are received, CISS/MLI will issue an Invitation Letter to the applicant; this is the confirmation of enrollment.

How will students get to and from the Canadian school?

If the host family is located less than around three kilometres from the school, the student will walk to school. This is common in Canada. Students that walk will be paired with Canadian students or host siblings; they will not be expected to walk alone.

If the host family is located more than three kilometres from the school, the student can take the local school bus (no additional fees). The host family will teach the student how to take the bus.

Some host families choose to drive their children to school, and may offer the same to a visiting international student; but this is not guaranteed and it is not common in Canada as in Brazil, for example.

Note: The use of the school bus is established by the school based on student’s address. There are no special requests for students to use the bus if the address does not follow the school rules.

Is there someone who speaks Portuguese with the group daily?

There is no guarantee of a Portuguese-speaking staff onsite, however, CISS MLI has Portuguese-speaking staff in the office who will be assisting and are available in the case of emergency.

What do the students do with host families?

Students will be welcomed as members of the family. They will enjoy daily family activities at home after school and on weekends. Activities are at the discretion of the host family but may include things like: seeing a movie, going for a hike, visiting relatives, taking a daytrip etc. 

How will you monitor the students?

Students are supervised by their host families. CISS MLI has local staff living in the community who are reachable for any concerns and problems that arise. There is also a 24hr emergency number available to students, parents or agents at any time: 1-866-388-6543 (toll-free from within the United States or Canada; from other countries, please call +1-416-623-6215; standard long distance rates will apply).

If there is a problem with host family, can you change my child’s family?

We recruit only the best families available, however, difficulties in intercultural communication or personality conflicts arise from time to time. If this happens, every effort will be made to resolve the situation with the student and family first. If we are unable to resolve the situation, we will discuss the option of changing host families with the student and his/her parents and/or agent in home country. Any student who feels they are in an unsafe situation should call our emergency number and he/she will be moved immediately to a respite family.

How safe is Pickering, Ontario*?

Like most cities in southern Ontario, cities in the Greater Toronto Area have a lower crime rate and a high quality of living compared to cities across the country, which already has a low national average crime rate.

*Please note that host community can change depending on availability. Students will be informed about any changes accordingly and before arrival.

What is your emergency protocol?

There is a 24hr emergency number available to students, parents or agents at any time: 1-866-388-6543 (toll-free from within the United States or Canada; from other countries, please call +1-416-623-6215; standard long distance rates will apply). For all non-emergencies, please contact your Booking Agent.

What courses will the students take in school?

Because this is a short-term program, students will be assigned to courses based on space availability. If a student has a strong interest in a specific course, there is a section to state this on the application form. There is no guarantee that spaces will be available, but we will do our best to place the student in related courses.

Can the student change the course if they don’t like it?

Due to the short length of the program, it is not possible to change a course if the student doesn’t like it. We encourage students to keep an open mind and remember that they will be in four different courses.

Who is the “Canadian buddy” and what do they do?

The Canadian buddy is a local student chosen to be a helper to the visiting international student. He/She may be a different gender and age from the participating international student but is someone eager to help and make friends. The international students will follow their Canadian buddies to their classes and participate in school life together. Buddies will show their school and Canadian school life to their assigned international student partners. Note: for students walking to school, walking partners may not be the same as the “Canadian buddy”.

What if the student doesn’t like the food the host family is preparing?

Host families have a variety of food and eating habits and it’s common for visiting students to not like something their host families prepare. We strongly encourage students to come with an open mind and at least try things before saying they don’t like them. If they try, and still don’t like it, students should be open with their host parent(s) and talk to them about what kinds of foods they like. Most host families are accommodating and willing to adapt their meals. Students can also speak to the Program coordinator if they need help negotiating this type of situation.

Do the students in the program have to wear a uniform?

The school has a uniform, but visiting students don’t have to use the specific uniform. Students must follow a dress code: white golf/polo shirt and either grey or khaki pants. Sweatpants, yoga pants, sports pants or jeans are not permitted.

How’s the weather in the Greater Toronto Area at that time of year?

The average daytime temperature at that time of year in Pickering is from - 12 to - 3 degrees Celsius, so it's important that students dress warmly. Insulated shoes, warm jackets, gloves, socks, scarf, and tuque (Canadian for the warm knitted hat) are recommended. Even though students may experience snow, they may also experience days of sunshine or rain.

What is CISS/MLI?

CISS/MLI is a 41-year-old organization that brings young students from around the world to Canada for educational programs, including summer camps, high school programmes, group tours, and homestay experiences (www.cisscanda.com).