What is the Exchange Program?
Branksome's Exchange Program is an exciting opportunity for students to go on exchange to our partner schools throughout the world, and then, in turn, to host their exchange partner when she attends Branksome.
Exchange students will experience living with a family in another country, sharing school and family life, going on trips and vacations, and learning about the culture of another country. Their families will reciprocate when their partners come to Toronto.
Who can go on exchange?
The exchange program is open to all students in Grades 8 to 10. We have approximately 30 exchange places available this year.
When and for how long?
Exchange visits range from four to eight weeks in length. Branksome girls do not miss school, with the exception of the language immersion exchanges to France and Spain. The two week trip to Bermuda for Grade 8 takes place during the spring break and all other departures take place from mid-June through July and August.
Our exchange visitors are welcomed at three different times in the school year. In the fall term any time from September through December; January and February (to include the Grade 9 Outward Bound trip) and any time after spring break through to mid-May, depending on Branksome's calendar and how the dates coordinate with those of the other schools.
How do I learn more?
Because of our students' wonderful experiences in the program, word of mouth promotes Branksome's exchanges. Students return with new insights and confidence, giving talks in assemblies, and our visiting students also make presentations about their countries and schools. We invite parents to learn more at information sessions and at the Exchange Fair.
The "Exchange Fair" is great fun and an opportunity to find out more. Bring your parents along to see the slide shows, visit the location booths and chat with students who have already participated in the program.
"The Bermuda High School really rolled out the red carpet for the Branksome girls. Everyone was so friendly and they were included in all the activities. This was Alex's first exchange experience and it was a 'home run' success for her. Well done on the Exchange Program!" Carolyn & Bob Singleton
What is the application and selection process?
Application forms are available upon request and should be submitted by the end of May for exchanges taking place the following school year. Students are able to submit their first and second choices for exchange destinations. During June exams teachers are given a list of applicants, and anecdotal comments are requested, particularly relating to:
- The applicant's academic progress, achievements and challenges during the school year.
- Her co-curricular, clubs and society involvement - is it manageable?
- Will she will be a caring, friendly host able to devote time to her visitor?
- Will she be a good Branksome ambassador?
Joanne Colwell, Head, Senior School, as well as the Coordinator, Exchanges and Experiential Learning will meet in July or August to discuss all the applicants and assign girls to the exchange spaces available, bearing in mind each applicant's first and second choice. The honest and confidential comments made by teachers are invaluable when selecting girls who will represent Branksome.
Once students have been selected and have agreed to participate, their profiles are sent to the exchange school abroad and both schools work together in pairing their girls. It may be necessary to pair students who are up to one year apart in age but this has not presented disadvantages in the past.
How do our visitors enjoy their exchanges?
From Sherborne, Dorset,
Branksome was just as friendly as Sherborne but in a much busier location and much bigger, pretty intimidating to begin with. Nothing could have prepared me for Outward Bound, but everyone helped me and I am so glad that I did it; it was such an amazing experience.
|From St. George's, Edinburgh, |
Branksome is a fabulous school with very friendly girls and teachers. This was my first exchange and I was a little scared but everyone gave me a warm welcome, I'd do it again in a second as the experience went beyond my expectations.
From Queenswood, Hertfordshire,
This has been the best experience of my life and I'm so glad I came. I loved the CN Tower dinner and going to Niagara Falls. I had an outstanding experience.
|From La Source, Paris, |
I am going to miss your school so much. I love Branksome and all that you do here. I will miss all the girls and having fun at school.
From Wilderness, Adelaide,
Going on an exchange is life changing. The places I visited and the new things I tried, all the friends I made & I tried to get to know as many of the Branksome girls as possible, this was so worthwhile as they are amazing.
|From Kambala, Sydney, |
I celebrated my birthday at Branksome an event never to be forgotten, along with the friends and all the amazing experiences including how different our schools are!
From St. Margaret's,
What a great city! Lots of adjustments to lifestyle and climate, which made life interesting. I loved Branksome and this has been such a great decision, I'll never forget it. Branksome has heaps of learning opportunities and I got lots of special and important things from this visit that I will treasure for ever. The time flew by but I won't miss the cold.