international rural exchange canada farming agriculture saskatchewan manitoba alberta travel travelling exchange program agricultural livestock outbound inbound hosting travel the world discover canada host travellers ire canada anita warriner foster laurie fornwald horticulture horses cows beef learn educate education grow farm farming farmer Going overseas is a great way to expand yourself as a person. It can be a grand adventure, and helps you to become more skilled in agriculture, to learn new ways of doing things, and to expand your knowledge of other cultures and language. What countries can I go to and what kind of work could I do? We have partner organizations in many countries, including Australia, France, Germany, Switzerland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States, Ireland, Austria and Denmark. Types of placements vary by country, but can include crop farming, livestock, mixed farms, equine, oenology, horticulture, and in some cases, home management. The minimum placement time is 3 months, the maximum is usually one year. It is possible to go to more than one country in a year if you wish to. Do I need to speak another language? Not necessarily. The common language of most exchange programs is English, and very often in European countries many people speak English. However, if you choose to go to a country where you do not have some knowledge of the language it can make the experience much more difficult for you. Also, you miss a lot of the richness of the experience if you don't make a real effort to learn the language. We can help you to arrange language school in the country where you are going to work. If you really don't want to learn a language other than English, you can definitely consider going to English speaking countries such as New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom and Ireland. Will I be paid? Every country has different labour standards, but in most cases, the minimum wage for the country is the approximate wage of a trainee. Occasionally 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. It all depends on your 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. What about food? Allowance for food is handled differently by different countries. In some places, the trainee usually eats with their host, 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. How much does it cost? 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 in most cases), a visa/work permit fee ($100-$300 in most cases), and a fee that you pay to IRE Canada ($375). You must also have adequate health and travel insurance for your time overseas. Some partner organizations work with a particular insurance company, and sometimes we help you to get insurance from a Canadian company. (For a full year, the cost is often $500-$700 and is less for a shorter amount of time.)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 via the Internet or through a local travel agent. We can also suggest a travel agent if you would like assistance in purchasing a ticket. To help lower your total costs, IRE 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 $1475 -$2675, probably tending more toward the lower end of that spectrum. Do I get training once I am there? Again, every country handles this a little bit differently. In some, there is a training seminar shortly after your arrival that introduces you to knowledge of the country, as well as other trainees. In some places, there are opportunities for organized travel with other trainees. In terms of practical skills, hosts should orient you to life on their farm, and help you to understand local practices and safety measures. What if I don't like my host? Often, differences between hosts and trainees can be worked out with increased communication. 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. Why is IRE better than just finding my own job? 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 IRE, 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 IRE as a support can help ease the worry that some parents have. How do I apply? Now that you have read all of this information, if you are interested in receiving more specific information about the countries that we work with, click here to request further information and an application. Can I get university or college credit? We are working with some universities in Canada, and are very happy to do what we can to help you get educational credit or recognition if that is an option within your university or college. It may be possible that you could receive some financial aid or bursary for going overseas from your educational institution if you ask around. How long does the application process take? Once we have received your completed application and deposit ($500) we would forward your application to our partners in your country of choice. If it is a time of year that they are making placements, we would usually expect to wait 2-4 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. For some countries, visa and work permit paperwork comes through in as soon as a week. For others, it takes 4-8 weeks. It's always less stressful to apply sooner than later.