Youth aged 13-15

For parents

About the program

The Explore program has been in existence since 1971. The Explore program (ages 13 to 15) was piloted in 2010 and in 2011, with positive results and full participation, and was formally created in 2018. The program is administered by the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada, (CMEC), and the provinces and territories, and it is funded by the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Explore (ages 13 to 15) participants will have the opportunity to initiate or develop their language skills in a structured learning environment; create links with other youth from second-language communities across Canada; and enjoy a rich cultural experience in another part of Canada.

Rules, what to bring, course materials

Participants must arrive at the host location at the pre-arranged start date and cannot leave before the end of the program. Participation in all classes and activities is mandatory. Each program guarantees at least 45 hours of in-class activities, as well as extracurricular sociocultural and athletic activities, and participants’ full participation is expected. Because of this, participants cannot leave the campus in order visit friends or family in the area, as it may impact their participation in the program.

As well, each host institution has a policy about the use of the target language. This means that participants are encouraged to speak French, with the specific rules for each institution to be relayed to participants along with their registration and acceptance documents.

It is recommended that participants bring a French dictionary, as well as pens, pencils, paper, and a binder for classroom use. Any other course materials will be provided by the host institution. If other materials are required, the host institution will inform participants when it sends them their registration and acceptance documents.

If for any reason the institution needs to send a child back home before the end of the program, the parent or guardian must make arrangements to pick up their child at the institution’s request.

Accommodation and security

Participants in Explore (ages 13 to 15) are required to stay on-campus in a dormitory-style room or a university apartment, or off-campus with a host family. Accommodations are assigned by gender. Bilingual monitors work with students around the clock, and are with them at all times during activities and outings. The university campuses are regularly patrolled by professional security guards, and there are security guards assigned to each residence. In emergency situations, participants can alert their monitors or the institution’s security staff. Institutions have arrangements with local hospitals should participants require medical care.

Each campus has a curfew that participants are required to respect, and each institution has safety and security rules that will be communicated to each participant at the time of registration. The Explore program (ages 13 to 15) recognizes that, for many participants, this may be their first time away from home for an extended period. In order to have the best possible experience, each location has a support team to help participants feel safe and comfortable and get the most out of the Explore program (ages 13 to 15).

To ensure the privacy of program participants, we cannot share the names or arrival information of other participants at any given location.

Parents will be given the telephone numbers of program staff, who will be available at all times, including weekends. Participants are also given a number to call in case of emergency.

Special needs

If your child has special needs of any sort, please notify the institution when you submit the registration package (after he or she has been offered a bursary). Food allergies can be accommodated with advance notice.

Travel chaperones

Travel chaperones are there to ensure that participants travel safely. Parents and participants will receive a form to fill out specifying when and how participants’ will be travelling to the host institution. The information you must provide includes:

  • date and time of arrival;
  • name and location (city/town) of airport, train/bus station, etc.;
  • flight number, if applicable;
  • airline, if applicable;
  • telephone number(s) where parents can be contacted at any time;
  • parents’ signed authorization to the airline to release information to program staff.

Travel chaperones meet students at the airport, train, or bus station and arrange arrival logistics and shuttle service if and as required. They will identify themselves to participants with official documentation. At the end of the program, they accompany students to their departure location and ensure that their luggage is checked and they understand the information on their boarding pass. The chaperones remain with the students until they have passed through security or taken their seat on the train or bus.


We would be happy to answer your questions about Explore. Tell us how to contact you and we’ll be in touch.