Volunteer with Canada World Youth

Canada World Youth designs and delivers international educational programs for youth (aged 17-24) with a focus on volunteer work and community development in a cross-cultural setting.
Youth in action
Since 1971, more than 27,000 youth have participated in Canada World Youth programs. As a team, youth live and work in communities in Canada and overseas, learning about local and international development and gaining essential job skills for the future.
Canada and the world
Working in partnership with local organizations, the majority of Canada World Youth programs have a phase in Canada and a phase in one of close to 30 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Central and Eastern Europe.
1. Q: How much will it cost?
A: Canada World Youth receives funding support from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Industry Canada, overseas partners and thousands of donors across Canada. But we also need participants’ support. Here’s what you contribute:
$250 participation fee

Pre-program expenses (passport, vaccinations, medical and dental exams, etc.)
Fundraising (up to $2,100 for most programs) – but don’t worry, we’ll show you how to do it!
In turn, Canada World Youth covers all other expenses: air travel, insurance, lodging, food, etc.
2. Q: What are the selection criteria?
A: Our programs are open to Canadian citizens and immigrants between 17 and 29 years of age. We are looking for dynamic youth who are open to learning about the world around them and to getting involved in community-based volunteer projects while living a unique cross-cultural experience. Each program has specific selection criteria, so be sure to check the program section before applying.
3. Q: When does participant selection happen?
When do the programs begin?A: The selection period varies depending on the program. For the Core Program, selection normally takes place in January and February, and the majority of programs begin in June, July, August or September. For other programs, check the program section for details on the application deadlines.
4. Q: What are my chances of being selected? What is the selection process?
A: Your chances of being selected depend first on the number of applications that have been received that year. Second, since Canada World Youth is a national program, one of our objectives is to represent Canadian society in all of its diversity. For this reason, candidate selection is done at a regional level, and the first selection is done randomly in order to have a true representation of the Canadian population (e.g. males/females, urban/rural residents, students/workers, etc.). If your name is selected, you will be invited to participate in a selection day or to conduct a telephone interview. If your name is not selected this year, we encourage you to try again next year!
5. Q: Where will I live during the program?
A: During your entire program, you will live with a host family chosen by Canada World Youth. If your program includes a Canadian and an overseas phase, you will be twinned with a young person from the exchange country and you will live with him or her in a host family arranged by Canada World Youth (this is not the participant’s family but one pre-selected by Canada World Youth).
6. Q: Can I pick where I want to go overseas?
A: Unfortunately, you cannot choose where you want to go overseas. However, you can indicate your preferences and we will do our best to accommodate them.
7. Q: Do I have to learn another language?
A: You are not required to learn another language to be selected for the program. However, if you are selected to participate in a program in Quebec, we strongly suggest that you take some courses in French to help you integrate into your host family and community. As for the language of your exchange country, it may be difficult to learn even the basics before your departure – don’t worry, you will have plenty of opportunities to learn once you are living with your host family and volunteering in the community. This language learning will only enrich your intercultural experience.
8. Q: What type of volunteer work will I be doing? Can I choose my own work placement?
A: The volunteer work placements vary greatly depending on the program, the Canadian host community and the exchange country. The following are some of the areas that you could be involved with as a participant: community development, social services, health, education, the environment, forestry, small business development, agriculture or information technology. You cannot select your own work placement, but we will try to respect your preferences.
9. Q: Who supervises the projects?
A: During the entire program, your group will be under the supervision of two educators (a Canadian and someone from the exchange country) hired by Canada World Youth and the overseas partner organization. The supervisors ensure that all aspects of the program run smoothly and guide the participants in their learning. The supervisors are also the key contact people in the community for the program – if there are problems or questions related to participants or the program in general, the supervisors are the people to speak to.
10. Q: Is it possible to leave the group during the program? (e.g. wedding, death, Christmas, etc.)?
A: One of the objectives of Canada World Youth is to provide you with a truly intercultural experience. For this to happen, the program is designed so that you and your group members are fully integrateing into your host communities by living with families and taking part in community activities. To attain this objective, it is preferable that you don't receive visitors during the program, nor that you leave the group or the community at anytime unless there's an urgent family matter such as a death in your family.
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