Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have an orientation program?

Yes. Orientation will take place a day or two prior to the beginning of the regular start of school. We host a orientation that includes a tour of your school and assistance with developing your timetable. Information regarding our orientation will be forwarded to all new international students prior to your arrival as part of our pre-departure information package.

How old do you have to be to be an International Student?

Our international program welcomes students from Grades 8-12. Normally, students are between the age of 13-18 when they are in these grades. Exceptions must be approved by the International Program Manager.

What day do you prefer the students to arrive? Can I access my homestay if I arrive early?

Students should arrive the weekend prior to our orientation date. Students that arrive earlier than the scheduled program arrival date and come with their parents are responsible for arranging their own accommodation through a hotel or through negotiation with their host family.

How much is an extra night in the homestay?

Extra nights in the homestay are $30.00 per night (three meals included).

When do the students have vacations? What do I do during school holidays?

Students have two weeks at Christmas and 10 days at Easter in addition to several long weekends throughout the year. Students can go home during the Christmas or Easter break provided they are sure their visa will allow them to return to Canada. Many of our host families enjoy including international students in their holiday plans and students are welcome to remain with their host families during all holidays.

Can I travel by myself to different cities while on holidays?

No, not unless we have specific written permission from the parents and travel is supported by the host family and the Homestay Coordinator. Please see our international student travel policy for more information. 

Do you have a “custodian program” and how much does it cost?

Yes. We will provide custodial documents after we have received a full application package. The cost of the custodial documents is included in the non-refundable application fee that is submitted at the time of application.

Does the school or the International Program arrange any trips or activities?

Yes. We offer a wide variety of trips for our international students through both the schools and the host families. Some examples of include a welcome barbeque, a trip in the Rocky Mountains, bowling evenings, a sleigh ride at Heritage Park, spring hot dog roast and movie evenings. Also, many students engage in a variety of activities with their host families. All international students are welcome to join the Ski Club organized through their own school. Our student activities list will be distributed to all students through the school and host families.

Do we pay the rent directly to the host family or to the school?

You pay rent to Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools and the school board makes payment to the host families.

Do you assist in the re-validation process?

Yes we can send the documents to the Mexican, Colombian or Brazilian Embassy for re-validation.

Is there any cost for re-validation?

The cost is usually around $145.00 CAD which is charged by the Embassy and the lawyer to notarize the documents. The fee includes shipping to the student by courier.

If students are unhappy with their Homestay what happens?

We have an international liaison in each school who looks after international students. If problems arise you can discuss this with the liaison or with our Homestay Coordinator. Our Homestay Coordinator will help you to resolve issues with your host family. We try to work out the difficulties together. If after intervention the student is still unhappy we will try to move the student to a new family.

How far are you from Edmonton, Calgary, Banff and Jasper?

Calgary: 120 kms
Edmonton: 120 kms
Banff:  300 kms
Jasper: 400 kms

Is pick up and drop off at the international airport included?

Yes, airport pick up and drop-off is included in your fees provided you arrive on a weekend-preferably the weekend designated by our program. Students will likely be picked up by host families. If students arrive on a week day when the host families are not available or go home during their holidays, they may be required to pay a shuttle fee for airport pick up or drop off.

How do I access money in Canada?

Students can arrange to bring Canadian cash for their first few days in Canada. Our recommendation is that a students open a bank account with one of our internationally recognized banks and access cash with a debit card.

How do I get to and from school?

International students will be provided with a bus pass to get to and from their designated school. The bus pass can only be used during school hours. For a fee, the student can upgrade their bus pass allowing them to use the bus system at any time. It is important to note that public transit in Red Deer is very safe and commonly used by our students and the citizens of our city.

What is the weather like in Canada and how do I prepare myself?

The seasons in Canada are:

Fall or Autumn - September 21 to December 20

In Red Deer, the temperature range is from -9 to +20 degrees celsius (C). September is almost as warm as the summer but October through to December will require winter clothing. Buy high-quality winter coats with hoods, long pants, sweaters and waterproof boots or shoes.

Winter - December 21 to March 20

The temperature range is -25° to +3° C. Snow falls and stays on the ground most of the time. January and February are the coldest months of the year and can be bitterly cold. It can be so cold outside that it is dangerous to go out with any skin exposed. Get thermal underwear tops and bottoms and wool socks. Windproof hats, thick mittens, scarves, and warm, waterproof boots are essential.

Spring - March 21 to June 20

The temperature range is -6° to +21° C and there is a lot of rain during this period. In March and April, you will need to wear sweaters, windproof and rainproof jackets and rainproof shoes. In May and June it gets warm enough to go outside without a coat on.

Summer - June 21 to September 20

The temperature range is 11° to 30° C. Summer is sometimes very hot while at other times it is wet and windy. You should have shorts and T-shirts but also sweaters and long pants. To find out the weather for the day, listen to any radio station or look at the front page of any newspaper. Another resource is Environment Canada's website. The weather report gives the temperature in degrees Celsius and information on the amount of rain, snow and sun that we will have.

Another way to decide what to wear is to look outside and see what most people walking by are wearing. However, it is always better to put on extra layers of clothing if you are not sure of how many you will need. Then you can take one or two layers off if you get too hot during the day. 

If you are not used to Northern Climates, talk to the staff about other ways to prepare yourself so that it is not such a shock. Despite the cold, there are a lot of fun activities you can do in the winter if you are warmly dressed.