Frequently Asked Questions

What is your refund policy?

Read detailed information on our Refund Policy on our Fees page. 

What are your application deadlines?

There is no deadline for application. You are strongly encouraged to apply as early as possible due to limited space in some schools and programs. Students must also leave themselves enough time to apply for a study permit (processing times vary depending on where you submit your application).

Do I need a study permit?

All international students must apply for a study permit, even if you are applying for a one-semester program. To learn more about how to apply for a study permit, see How To Apply.

Do I need medical insurance?

Medical Insurance is included in the Abbotsford School District International Student Program Fees.

One Semester / 5 month Students 

Coverage is provided by Guard.Me@SCHOOL    

Guard.Me is one of the world’s largest insurance providers for international education. 

Two Semesters / 6 month (+) Students

International Students studying in BC School Districts for 6 months (or longer) are required to be covered by the Medical Services Plan of British Columbia.   Students are covered by Guard.Me@SCHOOL  for the 3 months while they are waiting for MSP to take effect. 

For questions about medical insurance please contact our office

What is custodianship? Do I need it?

All applicants are usually advised within one week whether they have been offered placement in an Abbotsford school.

How long does it take to process my application?

All applicants are usually advised within one week whether they have been offered placement in an Abbotsford school.

What age do students have to be to apply?

The Abbotsford School District will place international students in all grades from Kindergarten to Grade 12. Students under 12 must have a parent or direct relative living with them in Abbotsford. If a student intends to graduate with a BC Diploma, the upper age limit to apply is 17 (students may still apply for a single semester if they are 18).

What do I need in terms of school transcripts?

Students must attach all original transcripts for the past three years translated into English. Please also email or fax the original, un-translated copies of the transcripts.

What grades do I need to have to be accepted?

Students are required to have a 65% or above average grades.

If I only apply for one semester, can I choose to extend my stay?

Students are usually able to extend their stay provided there is space available and their academic performance is satisfactory. Our office will help you extend your study permit.

What are the rules and what happens if I break them?

Read the rules in the Student Handbook and the Participation Agreement. Students who violate them will first receive a warning. An international student may be asked to withdraw from the program if the same violations persist, or in the case of very serious infractions.

Do I need to speak fluent English to attend school in Abbotsford?

Admission to the program does not depend on the student’s English abilities. At orientation, school counselors assist students in choosing courses that match their English ability and interests. International students are integrated into classes with Canadian students and receive the appropriate amount of ESL support. 

Are all international students required to take ELL?

Students identified as needing ESL support are enrolled in an ESL class, and will increase their number of other classes when their English improves. Only students with a test score of advanced English skills will be exempt from ESL.

Am I able to attain a BC Graduation Diploma?

International students are able to obtain a BC Graduation Diploma. It is a three year program and requires completion of specific courses in Grades 10, 11 and 12. International students are encouraged to commence studies in Canada beginning in Grade 10 if they intend to graduate. Students with strong English skills may come in Grade 11.

Can I attend universities outside of North America after I study in Abbotsford?

The BC Graduation Diploma is accepted all over the world, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

What happens if I arrive after the semester begins?

Students may arrive late, but they will not receive a refund for the time missed. Students should consider orientation mandatory, and should do their best to arrive on time..

Can I travel while in Abbotsford?

Day trips outside the city of Abbotsford must be authorized by the home stay family and the student’s parents. The International Program must also approve any overnight travel, and is the final authority on such trips. Students wishing to travel to abroad or to the US must get approval on a case by case basis and must abide by all rules that apply to international travel.

When are schools in session?

Schools are in session from the beginning of September until the end of June.  Each secondary school year is split into two semesters, September to January and February to June.  International Students may begin their studies in either semester. There is a two-week break at the end of December for Christmas and a two-week break in March. Class is in session Monday to Friday from approximately 8:15 to 2:45 with a 40 minute lunch break mid-day.

How do you decide which school to place students in?

We try to match student’s interests and goals with the best school for them.  However, we also believe in providing a full immersion experience and try to evenly distribute students between all of our schools.

Which schools offer ELL?

All elementary, middle and secondary schools in Abbotsford offer ESL and international student admission.  ESL services are delivered in a number of different ways including separate ESL courses and other support services depending on the student’s English ability.

How do I decide which courses to take?

Elementary and middle School students do not have a choice when it comes to their courses and take a mix of regular academic courses and electives.  Secondary school students choose courses depending on academic goals. All international students have course planning appointments with their counselor at orientation.

Can I change schools?

We strongly encourage students to remain at their assigned school. At the end of the school year, students may put in a formal request to change schools if they have education-related concerns. A committee will review this request and make the final decision.

Do I have to maintain certain grades while in Abbotsford?

Students must maintain a passing grade in all of their courses.

What kind of specialty programs do you offer?

We offer a wide variety of specialty programs including the International Baccalaureate Program, Advanced Placement, Specialty Arts Programs, and Sports Academies. 

What courses are offered at your schools?

Each school offers a wide variety of courses including academic courses, electives and specialty programs.  Students can choose from academic courses such as Math, Calculus, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, English, History, Geography, Psychology, Business, and more.  There are also courses such as Art, Drama, Music, Computers, Woodwork, Cooking, Sewing, Mechanics, Physical Education, Photography, Fashion Design, Student Leadership, and many more.  The specific courses offered can also be viewed on the secondary school websites.

What is included in home stay?

Homestay provides a welcoming home environment for students.  Each student is given a private room with a window, which must be outfitted with basic furniture, including a comfortable bed (with linen, duvet cover, blanket, pillows), a night table, dresser, lamp, alarm clock, work desk with a chair and sufficient lighting, closet and mirror.  Students are also provided three nutritious meals a day, plus healthy snacks.

Can I change home stays?

It is preferred that students do not move during their school term. Families and students are expected to make every effort to make the home stay a success. The Homestay Coordinator and the student’s International Assistant will try to help resolve any problems before a move is considered.  However, students may change home stays if a move is deemed necessary by the home stay coordinator.

What should I bring with me when I come?

Please refer to the Pre-Departure Information for more on preparing to come to Canada.

Are there rules for living in home stay?

For rules and further information on home stay, students should read the Homestay section on the website, and refer to the Student Handbook, and Homestay Expectations for more details.