Highland Student Exchange – Italy 2025

What is a cultural exchange?

Are you interested in a fun, exciting and memorable adventure next year, building lasting international connections and friendships? Consider joining our Highland group on cultural exchange with students in Verbania, Italy. This is an amazing opportunity for students in Grades 10-12 who would like to experience another culture for a short term. You will be paired with a student from Verbania, Italy who will come and stay in your home and experience your culture, and then we will travel as a group to Italy where you will stay in their home and experience their culture.

Who is the exchange for?

Students who will be in Grades 10 -12 starting September 2024 that are wanting to connect with students and families of another culture. Families and students must be willing to host an Italian student at the end of September 2024 or in October 2024 for a minimum of 10 days. Students will need to be able to travel to Italy at least a week prior to and including at least a week of Spring Break of 2025 for a duration of approximately 14 days and willing to be hosted by an Italian student’s family while staying in Verbania. Exact dates of the exchange on both ends will not be known until May 2024.

A maximum of 24 – 30 students can go on this exchange. Applications are due on February 1st and students will be selected by the beginning of March. Selected students will be required to pay a $500.00 deposit to secure their spot by April 1st, and after that time if any students no longer wish to have a spot, we will accept waitlisted students.

Who are the sponsor teachers?

Mrs. Stevens (dawn.stevens@sd71.bc.ca) and Mr. Stevens (brian.stevens@sd71.bc.ca) are the two sponsor staff members for this exchange. We encourage any students or families with questions to come ask Mr. Stevens at school.

Comox Valley Home Stay for the Italian Students

While the students are in the Comox Valley, it is expected that the homestay family will welcome them in and give them local experiences (Tofino, Qualicum/Parksville, Denman/Hornby, Mt. Washington, etc.). Students will stay with families each night while they are here, except for one night where they will be on an overnight trip. During the school week while the Highland students are in school, the students will participate in day excursions that may include (Elk Falls, Mt. Washington hike, Cathedral Grove, Deep Bay Marine Station, Big House experience, and a trip to Victoria).

It is important that families are committed to spending time with their Italian student and should consider suspending extra-curricular activities during this time if the student is unable to take part. Families who are hosting a student as part of this exchange will need to fill out a Home Stay Application.

Cost: Will be Announced

Until the trip details have been finalized, we do not have a confirmed cost yet, however it is estimated to be between $4000-$5000. The price includes both the outbound trip as well as the hosting side field trips. This is a very rough estimate as price changes on airfare and insurance, costs for “add-on” adventures, and costs of local trips for our Italian guests will have a role in determining our final trip budget. Traditionally the cost of this trip is lower than typical international trips as we do not need to pay for accommodations. Highland students will probably want some spending money for our time there.

Some fundraising opportunities may be available, at motivation and organization of participating student and their families to be involved in, which may help offset some trip costs.

Deposit – A $500.00 deposit will be needed to secure your spot on the trip. This will be required on April 1, 2024 after we have selected the students and have had parent meetings to answer any questions parents may have

Passports and documentation……please inquire ASAP!


You will need a passport that will not expire within six (6) months of the return date of the trip. You will also fill in detailed permission slips, a parent consent form which will need to be notarized, medical form and a standard letter giving Mrs. Stevens and Mr. Stevens permission to take you on international travel.

If your parents are divorced / separated you must make sure BOTH sets of parents fill out all of these documents.

Cultural Exchange Application Form

Piazza Vittorio Emanuele lll buildings and habor in Cannobio – Lago Maggiore, Verbania, Piemont, Italy