My Australian experience was one of
a lifetime! I met lifelong friends from around
the world, travelled places I never thought possible,
and learned so much about agriculture
on the other side of the world! Sarah, participant to Australia
Every country has different labour standards, but in most cases, the minimum wage for the country is the approximate wage of a trainee. Sometimes, a monthly stipend is paid that would be lower than the country’s minimum wage. However, housing is always arranged for trainees, so the cost of living is lowered as a result. In the end, trainees often “break even” on the experience, or sometimes even save a little money, depending on spending habits and personal financial situation. We try to give you accurate financial information before you agree to a placement, so that you have an understanding of what money you will have, and how far it will go.
Allowance for food is handled differently by each country. In some places, the trainee eats with their host, but in other countries trainees buy and prepare all of their own food. In some countries you can state your preference for whether you want to eat with the host, or on your own, but that choice cannot necessarily be guaranteed.
This varies by the country. We try to work with partners that provide a good experience for trainees with a cost that is as reasonable as possible. There would be a placement fee from the partner organization in the country you are going to ($500-$1300), a visa/work permit fee ($100-$300), and a fee that you pay to IRE Canada ($500). You must also have health insurance for your time overseas. (Approximately $70 per month). Also, you are responsible for the cost of your roundtrip airfare. Once your placement is finalized and your work permit has come through, you are free to make your own travel plans, or we can assist with those arrangements. To help lower your costs, International Rural Exchange Canada is pleased to be able to offer a $200 scholarship for those trainees willing to share photos and write a brief paragraph about their experiences overseas. So, excluding the cost of airfare, the upfront cost (excluding airfare) is usually $1500 -$2700, tending more toward the lower end of that spectrum.
A $200 deposit is required at the time of your application.
Occasionally, things don’t work out with a placement. Perhaps there is a large personality conflict, or an unfortunate change if the life of a farm due to illness or crop failure. Often, personality or cultural differences between hosts and trainees can be worked out with increased communication. However, if necessary, changes to new host farms can often be arranged. The partner organization that places you in the country you are traveling to would be on hand to help with difficult situations, and they would help to move you to another placement if at all possible. If you have been dishonest about your ability or experience you might be dismissed from the program rather than sent to another placement. We expect Canadian trainees to give their placement a fair chance and to make every effort to be a good ambassador for Canada. Sometimes it takes a while to adjust to a new culture and new ways of doing things.
Going to another country can be stressful, especially if it is your first time overseas. While it is possible to get a working holiday visa on your own, it would then be up to you to find employment once you arrived in the country. With International Rural Exchange, you go with the knowledge that you have a place to work, and support if anything goes wrong. If you happen to have parents who are nervous about you traveling on your own, having our support can help ease the worry that some parents have. The ongoing success of our program depends on us ensuring good situations for our participants. Plus – we care about you as a human.
If you are interested in receiving more specific information about the countries that we work with please send us an e-mail, or give us a call so that we can send you an application and information packet via e-mail.
Once we have received your completed application we would forward your application to our partner in your country of choice. If it is a time of year that they are making placements, we would usually expect to wait 6-8 weeks for a placement opportunity. Once you have received and accepted a placement, we would then go about applying for any necessary paperwork to get your visa and work permit. We would either be able to complete the paperwork for you, or give you detailed instructions on how to fill it out. The visa paperwork can take anywhere from 1 – 8 weeks. It’s always less stressful to apply sooner than later.
You will receive a full refund if you are not accepted as a trainee by International Rural Exchange, or if we cannot find a suitable placement for you. You will receive a partial refund (any payment made, less the $200 deposit) if you cancel due to illness or unexpected unfortunate circumstances, or if your work permit or visa are not granted by the embassy. You will not receive a refund if you cancel less than 30 days before your departure date without a valid reason.