Posted 06/04/2019 6:00:00 PM by Vanessa Smit

When the final bell for school rings, young people across the country will be thrilled to head into the world and experience all that summer has to offer. For some, that means enjoying time with friends and family or catching up on learnings. For others, it could mean an exciting trip across the country to gain life and work skills.

We’ve asked the Y team to share five reasons young people across the country are advocates for summer programs like the Y’s Summer Work Student Exchange!

1. Make New Friends

Exchange programs give young people the chance to connect with youth from across the country. Exchanges are a great way to share experiences, meet new people and create some unforgettable memories. Plus, participants often get the chance to join groups from all across Canada in different activities. Who doesn’t want to make new travel buddies and grow their support network? 

2. Improve French Skills

Which ever level you’re starting at being immersed in the French language means you’ll improve your ability to understand and communicate in French. Think about it, French class will be a breeze. Participants are immersed in the language throughout the summer, a second language could become second nature. On top of that, being more fluent in another language might help with getting cool jobs and opportunities—there are lots of great things that come from knowing a second language.

3. Make Money & Gain Work Experience

Y participants are set-up with a full-time job at a non-profit organization. Jobs are often with camps or community centres where participants make money and gain employment skills. It’s even sweeter knowing that people approved for the Y’s Summer Work Student Exchange program don’t have to apply for jobs. Positions are coordinated by our awesome team here at the Y. Bonus, participants can show universities work experience in another language, plus there's the potential to earn $2,000 for the summer!

4. Participate in Fun Activities

Get the opportunity to join fun activities every weekend. Exchange students have opportunities to tour the community, sample local cuisine, participate in an Amazing Race, hiking, paddling, and other outdoor activities while in Quebec! You'll leave with many sharable stories and, of course, the memories. We can’t be more excited about the memories youth gain.

5. Get to Know a New Family & Community

Lower Mainland participants learn a whole new life in Quebec. Staying with a host family that’s different opens the doors to understanding a different way of life and broadens perspectives for the better! Most importantly, getting to know what family life is like in a different home by integrating into a new family for six weeks is priceless.

Know someone who might be interested in joining the YMCA Summer Work Student Exchange? Direct them to or contact us at

YMCA Student Summer Exchange Program

Are you 16 or 17 years old this summer? Do you want to make money and gain paid work experience? Do you want to travel, make new friends and get to know a different part of Canada?

For only $125* you can travel to Quebec and spend six weeks living with a host family, working a paid job and participating in fun group activities every weekend!

*Includes transportation to/from Quebec and all activity costs. Funding is provided by the Department of Canadian Heritage

About Vanessa Smit

Vanessa is a Marketing and Communications Manager based out of Vancouver. Don't be surprised if you find her researching cause related initiatives, French Bulldog puppies, playing in the sun or watching Raptors games. She's inspired by seeing and learning about engaging marketing campaigns, especially ones that help increase awareness of mission-driven initiatives—ask for examples, she would be happy to share!

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