International Travel and Exchange

Students spend their time learning about other cultures, history and helping others

We not only teach our students to have a global perspective, we encourage them to experience the world firsthand. There are two main types of international travel experiences for our students:

  • School Break Travel: each year, the school offers a number of travel opportunities organized and chaperoned by our faculty and focusing on service, sports or arts tours, or cultural experience.
  • International Exchanges: there are a number of student exchange opportunities both in Canada and around the world.

There are grants available to make it easier to afford an international experience.

Throughout the academic year, students can expand their education into the global community. Our international trips include language immersion, historical study, global issues and exposure to the arts. Certain trips may not run each year and may be cancelled if there if is not enough interest from the student body.

All trips run over Spring Break unless otherwise noted.


Students travel to the capital city Buenos Aires for a cultural, educational and service experience focusing on Centro Conviven, a beautiful little community centre serving the people of the most impoverished neighbourhood in the metropolis. Whilst immersed in BA's diverse cultural and urban environment, students will have opportunities to discover the sights, sounds, history and geography of the city and connect in meaningful ways to build relationships with the children, volunteers and staff at Centro Conviven in social and work settings.

Running: 2015-16; 2016-17

Costa Rica

This trip combines a mixture of service and culture.

Running: 2018-19


Music, history and art aficionados will tour through Europe on this cultural trip. Concerts, museums and art galleries will be just a few of the places students visit.

Running: 2015-16; 2018-19

Galápagos and Ecuador

A trip for biology and ocean enthusiasts, the SMUS trip to Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands is led by teacher Michael Jackson, one of the foremost experts on the Galápagos Islands. In Ecuador, students explore the Amazon Basin, study the rain forest in the Cuyabeno reserve, visit indigenous communities in the Andes and tour the Avenue of Volcanoes. For the final seven days, students experience the unique ecosystem of the Galápagos Islands by yacht, on foot and by snorkeling.


Students visit Udaipur, India through Free The Children to complete intensive leadership training, analyze complex social issues like poverty and child labour, and think critically about how they affect India and Asia as a whole. The trip involves school-building in a rural area, working in the Mother Theresa orphanages, and a reflection/spiritual retreat. Students are empowered to think critically about the challenges facing India today.

Running: 2016-17; 2017-18


Students interested in Japanese language or culture can test their speaking skills and explore this island country. As they study both traditional and contemporary Japanese culture, students will visit historical sites and popular attractions as well as interact with Japanese peers.

Running: 2015-16; 2017-18

London and Italy

The music groups will tour London and Italy on this cultural trip. Concerts, museums and art galleries will be just a few of the places students visit in addition to their performances.

Running: 2018-19


Part service trip, part educational exploration, the SMUS visit to San Jose del Cabo will allow students to immerse themselves in another culture while helping other. Students will help with English lessons, reforestation and work on wildlife conservation with peers in Mexico. They will also visit historic sites, art galleries and local restaurants, as well as learn to cook and make pottery.

Running: 2014-15; 2016-17


In the rural villages of Jiquilillo, Los Zorros and Padreramos, students will be helping to install water filtration systems and distributing almost 100 bikes that were collected by our school community. In addition to working at local schools, participants will be sandboarding down the face of a volcano, surfing, and exploring a sea turtle preservation project. The trip also includes a visit to the historic city of Leon and lessons on local culture and language.

Running: 2016-17; 2017-18


In this African excursion, students help build a school in a rural area surrounding Arusha, Tanzania. This service-based trip allows students to better understand the world around them and to improve the lives of young Africans. By socializing with the local people, working on the school, and exploring the country including a safari to the Ngorongoro crater as well as an excursion to the island of Zanzibar, students gain unparalleled insight into part of Africa.

Running: 2018-19

University Tours

We offer university visits to Ontario (November), Maritime Canada (March) and Southern California (May).

Running: 2017-18; 2018-19

Washington, DC (Model UN)

Students will participate in the Ivy League Model United Nations. Utilizing their knowledge of global politics, students act on behalf of various countries and committees to resolve international disputes quickly and effectively. The trip will also include cultural/architectural excursions and exploration of the local cuisine.

Running: 2015-16; 2017-18; 2018-19 (February)


St. Michaels University School students are able to take part in a variety of international exchanges. Currently, the school offers exchanges to Quebec, Japan, Australia, India and France.

Location Length
Quebec (College Ste. Anne, Montreal) 4 weeks (Jan/Feb)
Reciprocal homestay
Japan (Junten High School, Tokyo) 1 month
Australia (Ruyton Girls School; Trinity Grammar School, Melbourne) 6 weeks (Feb/Mar)
Reciprocal homestay
India (Woodstock School, Mussoorie) One term
Reciprocal homestay or boarding
France (Collège Sainte-Marie La Grand’ Grange, Lyon) 4-12 weeks
Reciprocal homestay

The most immersive form of travel SMUS offers is the student exchange. Ranging from four weeks to a full term, an exchange not only gives you the opportunity to experience another culture, but to study and live as part of that culture.

Find out more about students' experiences on exchange from a previously recorded information session in 2015 (above).

The exchange schools SMUS partners with are primarily co-educational, with a few exceptions. Each exchange situation offers a similar level of academics and educational philosophy, and many schools offer unique aspects of their curriculum to visiting students.

Our exchange program allows students to:

  • experience other cultures;
  • develop self-esteem and independence;
  • develop decision-making and adapting skills;
  • enhance leadership skills;
  • experience unique learning experiences;
  • develop friendships; and
  • enhance academic learning.

Exchanges are open to all SMUS students. However, boarding students will be unable to participate in exchanges that require a reciprocal homestay.

Regardless of whether a host school is a day or boarding school, visiting SMUS students are matched with a host family. During an exchange, SMUS students continue to be enrolled at St. Michaels University School.

Application for the exchange program is open to all students. Applicants should be positive, independent, flexible, and self-assured. They must above all be excellent representatives of St. Michaels University School, and contribute to and participate in all aspects of the exchange program.

Application Process

  • Students must complete an application form and submit all documents to the Education Extension office by the registration deadline.
  • Each application will be assessed and reviewed by a staff panel.
  • Successful applicants may be interviewed by the panel and a final decision will be made by the group.

Please note:

  • Students should discuss their program(s) of interest with their parents and receive parental permission before applying.
  • Exchange students should organize all travel documentation well in advance. A valuable resource for Canadians is Global Affairs Canada.
  • The Director of Senior School, Director of Education Extension and the student's Academic Advisor reserve the right to refuse permission for a student to participate.
  • There may be more applicants than places available.
  • No places will be allocated until available space with the exchange school has been finalized.