Exchange Program

Information for Waldorf students wanting to exchange with Toronto Waldorf School students:

More questions? Contact Sara Anderson, High School Administrator, + 1.905.881.6137 ext. 309. 

An ESL class with Boarding and Exchange students at Toronto Waldorf School

Application Process

1. Complete the application form.

  • We require the following:
    • some photos of the student
    • a copy of the student's most recent reports
    • references from the mathematics and English teachers
    • reference from the class teacher or advisor
    • a letter written by the student describing his or her life, activities, school, family and home
  • Send to: Sara Anderson, High School Administrator

By mail:
Toronto Waldorf School
9100 Bathurst Street  Unit 1
Thornhill, ON L4J 8C7

By fax:

By: e-mail

2. Sara will contact the student's family to confirm the application has been received.

3. The application will then be reviewed by TWS High School faculty.

4. Sara will contact the student's family to:

  • communicate acceptance or refusal of the application
  • help find a partner among the TWS students interested in an exchange

5. When the TWS and European students agree to be exchange partners, they inform Sara. She will send more information about registering at TWS:

  • a contract and invoice, including detailed information on fees
  • the High School Handbook and Course Calendar

6. The exchange student’s contract must be signed and returned to TWS with the required payment.

7. When the signed contract and payment is received Sara will send:

  • a letter of acceptance
  • a letter to confirm the student's status to apply for a student visa (if required by their country of residence).
  • the student's family is responsible to secure a visa to study in Canada.

8. Sara will be available throughout this process to answer questions.

Exchange Program Fees (CDN$)

  • No tuition for exchange students at TWS; tuition is paid for the full year at the home school
  • An Activity Fee of $1000 is charged for trips and outings and is adjusted for the length of stay. This covers specific events outside the classroom that are part of the High School curriculum. Contact Sara for more details about the breakdown of the fees.
  • Activity fees are invoiced and payable with the contract
  • The student must provide out-of-country medical insurance for the duration of the stay in Canada
  • Additional personal money is needed for transportation and leisure activities

Use the convenient currency converter at for current exchange rates.

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

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Academic Expectations

Exchange students are expected to work to their capacity while studying at TWS. While there is some leniency for lack of language skills, the student is expected to adhere to all rules and protocols of Toronto Waldorf School. TWS Teachers will teach the class to the level of their expectation for that grade. If a student is having difficulties, he/she should seek assistance from the subject teacher. The student can expect some help with homework from the host family. In the end, it is up to the international student to find the means by which to complete academic work satisfactorily. This could potentially mean hiring a tutor at the expense of the student's family.

Behavioural Expectations

Toronto Waldorf School rules may be different than those at the international student's home school. They must, however, be followed in order to participate at TWS. A few basic rules are included here; more detailed rules and procedures are listed in the TWS High School Handbook and Course Calendar (available upon request).

  • Eating in class, chewing gum, using foul language and defacing furniture are not allowed
  • Students may not miss classes or leave the school grounds without permission
  • No smoking, alcohol or drugs are allowed on TWS grounds
  • Misbehaviour, failure to follow school rules or academic non-performance may result in the student being withdrawn from TWS and returned home

Partner Family’s Expectations of Student

Exchange students are expected to:

  • observe the rules and customs of the family, including participating in shared household tasks, curfews and respecting others' property
  • keep themselves and their own bedroom clean and tidy
  • clean up after themselves in common areas
  • do homework as assigned by teachers, requesting help from the family as needed
  • be responsible for the cost of transportation to school if public transportation is needed, but the family shall be responsible for assisting the student to reach the nearest public transportation point
  • pay for their own long-distance telephone calls (use phone cards)

The exchange student agrees and understands that if any problems arise between members of the family and the student, the student will contact the High School Administrator or Advisors to consult about a process for resolution. If a medical emergency or other special circumstances arise, the student must contact the family, High School Administrator or Advisors immediately.

The Partner Family is expected to:

The Partner Family is expected to accept the role and responsibility of parenting the student for the duration of the visit, enforcing home and school rules:

  • provide a clean bedroom with a bed, desk, chair, lamp and closet. If the room is to be shared, the visiting student must be informed at the time of initial contact.
  • provide student with clean towels and linen, and reasonable use of washing and drying machines subject to supervision and control of the family.
  • provide food for breakfast and lunch, and a cooked dinner daily.
  • provide reasonable access to the telephone for local calls. (Student must pay for long distance calls with a phone card.)
  • provide reasonable access to the internet.
  • include the student in family outings, except in exceptional circumstances, such as overseas trips. The family must then make alternate arrangements for the student to stay elsewhere. The High School Administrator must be informed of these arrangements.
  • know the student's whereabouts at all times. The family expects that when the student goes out with friends, he/she will let the family know where he/she is and when he/she will be back.
  • be prepared that the student may experience stress and exhaustion in the new environment and may need a lot of support and understanding.
  • the host family agrees and understands that if any problems arise between the family and student, or emergencies arise, the family will contact the High School Administrator or Advisors and student's family immediately.

Life in Toronto and at Toronto Waldorf School

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.

Toronto is the premier city of Canada, with nearly 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.

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 an extensive bus system, making exploring the city practical on public transit.

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 humid hot summers and cold, snowy winters. Spring and fall, the times of year when Toronto's natural beauty is most evident, are very colourful.

The school is located on a splendid 20+ acres campus that includes the main school, a Waldorf teacher-training facility, a retirement community, anthroposophical doctors' offices, a Saturday organic market, a farm with gardens and animals, and a forest and creek. The school building includes large classrooms, two gymnasiums, music and practise rooms, woodworking and metal shops, a theatre stage, library, computer lab, kitchen and café.

Social Life in Toronto and at TWS

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. Many European students find the change in social life to be very significant.

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 limit their contact with friends and family at home. Access to cell phones, instant messaging, social networks and the Internet can provide a refuge for students who find it easier to focus on connections at home rather than those in Canada. We encourage students and families to discuss this before coming to Canada, and prepare for the challenges ahead.

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