Waldorf Exchange Program

Programs for International Waldorf High School Students

TWS welcomes applications for boarding and exchange from students who are studying at a Waldorf school in their home countries.

  1. Exchange Program
  • Eligibility: For students going into Grade 10 at a Waldorf school in their home countries.  Applications are received in the Grade 9 year.
  • International students are partnered with a Toronto Waldorf School student who is going into Grade 10
  • The international student studies at TWS for 2-3 months, living with the partner’s family
  • The TWS student studies at the international student’s home school for 2-3 months, living with the partner’s family
  • International Waldorf students study ESL (English as a Second Language) at TWS in addition to the regular curriculum
  1. Boarding Program
  • Eligibility: For international students with strong English skills going into Gr. 10 or 11 Students may attend TWS for either one semester (Sept-Dec or Jan-Jun) or a full school year
  • Students live with an English-speaking Waldorf family
  • Students may come from any language background, but should be studying at a Waldorf school in their home country
  • ESL classes are offered in addition to regular curriculum

*Please note, we no longer offer homestay for international students.  All international students MUST reside with a relative or a legal guardian for the duration of their study at TWS.  We only offer homestays for international Waldorf students on Boarding or Exchange. TWS cannot facilitate the acquisition of legal guardianship.

Exchange Program Information

The TWS Exchange Program is available exclusively to international Waldorf high school students, who are going into Grade 10.  All exchanges at TWS occur in the Grade 10 year for a maximum time of 2-3 months.

Step 1: Inquiry

Send us an autobiographical letter of introduction with photos: Tell us about your family, hobbies and school. Send it via email to our High School Administrator, Sara Anderson at sanderson@torontowaldorfschool.com

Sara will share your letter with our current Grade 9 and will contact you if a match is found.

Register on wal-di.com to search for interested students from our school. Let Sara know if you have found a potential partner there.

Step 2: Application

Once a potential match has been made you will need to submit a copy of your most recent report card and our application form which includes reference forms for teachers to fill out.

Your application will be reviewed by our High School Faculty, and Sara will inform you if your application has been accepted or refused.

Step 3: Registration

If accepted, Sara will send you the school contract and our High School Handbook.

When the contract and payment (if applicable) is received, Sara will send you a school confirmation letter if one is required to secure a student visa to study in Canada.

Important: You must check with the Canadian Embassy in your city to find out if you require a visa for your time in Canada.

You must also purchase medical insurance to cover 100% of your time in Canada, and send a copy of the insurance policy to Sara.

2019-20 Exchange Program Fees (CDN$)

  • Option A: Semester 1 : Sept 3 – Dec 20, 2019 (16 weeks) Tuition Fee $10,143, Trip Fee $421
  • Option B: Semester 2: Jan 6 – Jun 26, 2020 (22 weeks) Tuition Fee $14,007, Trip Fee $579
  • Option C: Full Year Sept 3 – Jun 26, 2020 (38 weeks) Tuition Fee $24,150, Trip Fee $1,000

While no tuition fees are charged for the exchange – provided that tuition is paid for the full year at the home school and the exchange time is an equal duration for both students – there may be some applicable charges.

For example:

An Activity Fee, maximum $1000/year, may be charged for trips and outings and is adjusted for the length of stay. This fee covers specific events outside the classroom that are part of the High School curriculum, such as camping trips and day excursions off campus. Any applicable trip fees are invoiced and payable with the contract.

The exchange student will need to pay a nominal deposit for schoolbooks and locker rental, which is refundable upon departure.

Pocket money will be needed for transportation and leisure activities.

More questions?

For Boarding and Exchange, contact Sara Anderson + 1.905.881.6137 ext. 309, sanderson@torontowaldorfschool.com

For International Students, contact Katie Ketchum + 1.905.881.6137 ext. 314, admissions@torontowaldorfschool.com

Life in Toronto

Toronto Waldorf School is located in the suburb of Thornhill, Ontario, approximately one hour’s ride on public transportation ($7.25 each way) from downtown Toronto. Thornhill is a small and quiet middle-class family suburb. Social and cultural activities are accessible in the surrounding community and in Toronto. http://www.seetorontonow.com/#sm.0001qntqda61mdixyv12mgjcqs8kb

Toronto is the premier city of Canada, with 5.5 million people in the Greater Toronto Area. Toronto and the province of Ontario are the most populous in Canada, the economic and cultural engines of the world’s second-largest country. Toronto is one of the most multicultural and socially progressive cities in the world. Located in the Great Lakes region of North America, Toronto is an hour’s flight from other major cities such as Ottawa, Montreal, New York and Boston. https://www.lonelyplanet.com/canada/toronto

Toronto is a cultural centre, home to a symphony orchestra, museums, concerts, festivals, movie theatres and thousands of activities and sports for teenagers. It is also known for its cultural diversity and wide variety of inexpensive ethnic food. Known as a “city within a park,” Toronto has 1500 local parks, a 5000-animal zoo and an active lakefront. Its subway system links up with a several regional bus systems, making exploring the city possible on public transit. While the public transportation system is realiable, it is not as extensive or inexpensive as most European cities’ systems. https://www.blogto.com/

Toronto has a long winter (about five months: mid-November to mid-April), a short spring (mid-April to May) and fall (October to mid-November) and a four-month summer (June to September). It is located on the northern shore of Lake Ontario, resulting in hot, humid summers and cold, snowy winters. Spring and fall, the times of year when Toronto’s natural beauty is most evident, are very colourful.

Social life in Toronto is very different from the life of most European students. The legal drinking age is 19, and as most dancing clubs serve alcohol, those under 19 are not admitted. Ontario students can obtain a driver’s license at age 16, and some TWS students drive themselves to school. Many European students find the change in social life to be very significant.

Life at TWS

The school is located on a splendid 40+ acre campus that includes the main school, a Waldorf teacher-training facility, a retirement community, anthroposophical doctors’ offices, a Saturday organic market, as well as a forest and creek. The school building includes large classrooms, two gymnasiums, music and practise rooms, art, woodworking and metal studios, a theatre stage, library, computer lab, kitchen and a small student-run café.

Successful students are those willing to initiate social activities themselves, and in new and different venues than they would attend at home. Toronto Waldorf School students attend school dances, house parties, a musical coffeehouse and other performances, but life here is very different from life at home!

Students who are most successful are those who actively engage in life in Canada and who immerse themselves fully in the English language – this means limiting contact with friends and family at home.

It is important to note that cell phone use at school is not permitted during class. Outside of class, cell phone use is also restricted and only allowed in designated areas. In general, the cell phone is to be used as a communication device only – not to be used to access social media, movies, internet or games.

While access to cell phones, instant messaging, social networks and the Internet can provide a refuge for students who are struggling with homesickness, focusing on connections at home rather than those in Canada will make the exchange a socially challenging experience. We encourage students and families to discuss this important issue before coming to Canada, so students are well informed and prepared for the challenges ahead.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do the Boarding and Exchange Programs differ?
Exchange students spend a maximum of 2-3 months at TWS and their exchange partner spends an equal amount of time at the exchange student’s school. No tuition fees are charged.

Boarding students spend either a full semester (Sept-Dec or Jan-Jun) or a full year (Sept-Jun) at TWS and pay tuition fees as well as boarding fees to their host families. The students may study for one or more semesters at TWS (5-10 months or more).

All students’ English level will be evaluated upon arrival. Students may be placed in the ESL course for international students.

I am not a student of a Waldorf School. Can I attend your program?
Both the Exchange and Boarding Programs are open only to students currently studying at Waldorf schools.

If you studied at a Waldorf school a short time ago but left to attend another school, we will consider your application.

Will my teachers’ references decide if I get accepted as a student at TWS?
No, the teachers’ references help us understand you and the type of support you may need to be a successful student here at TWS.

Do I need a visa to study in Canada?
This depends on the country you are applying from, and the length of time you plan to stay at TWS. It is your responsibility to find out the requirements from your local Canadian Embassy. TWS will provide you with a letter to present to your local Canadian Embassy confirming you have been accepted to study at TWS and have paid the required fees.

Is the TWS Waldorf curriculum the same as at my ‘home’ Waldorf school?
The basic Waldorf curriculum is the same; however some modifications have been made to meet government education requirements.

What language is spoken in Toronto, Canada?
English is spoken in Toronto, and at TWS. The nearest large city that speaks French is Montréal, which is about 6 hours away by train or car.

In the Exchange Program, how do you match partners?
You provide information about yourself, your community and family in your application and questionnaire. We consider this information along with knowledge about potential participants from TWS, and recommend a match.

We also recommend that students find each other on wal-di.com.

After that you and your partner have an opportunity to connect via email and telephone to get to know each other. In the end, you decide if the person will be a good match for you.

How many Exchange and Boarding students are there at TWS at any one time?
It varies from year to year, but typically there are between 2 and 4 students per class (usually in Grades 10 and 11) at any one time.

Does my completed application package guarantee me a placement at TWS?
No, this is the first step only. We need to introduce you to our Faculty and consider if you will be successful at TWS. Once this is evaluated, we need to find you a partner (Exchange Program) or a host family (Boarding Program).

Do I need to be fluent in English to attend TWS?
No, but you need to have a solid knowledge of basic English (for example, be able to manage life on a daily basis and to understand the lessons). You will need the willingness to learn and speak English, even when it is difficult.

Those who benefit the most from this opportunity come to TWS with an open mind, and the will to speak English as much as possible, even when they know it is not perfect.

The most successful students take full advantage of speaking English at all times.

Will I get help if I struggle with English?
Yes, all Exchange and Boarding students attend ESL (English as a Second Language) classes. These classes work on written and verbal skills, and focus on language needed for daily life and for academics. The classes are tailored to the needs of the students in each class and help support the academic work for the other classes.

What are your office hours?
8:30 am to 4:30 pm local Eastern Standard Time (GMT -5:00), or

14:30 to 22:30 Western Europe Time (GMT +1:00)

N.B. Eastern Standard Time is 6 hours behind most of Western Europe. For example, if it is 16:00 in France, it is 10 am in Toronto.

How can I contact Toronto Waldorf School about these programs?
Send an email to our Boarding & Exchange Coordinator, Sara Anderson.

Give Sara Anderson a phone call at 905.881.6137 ext. 309.  She is very happy to speak to parents about the program.