Explore Hamilton

international students in ESL summer program at Mohawk College

Summer ESL Program for Youth
in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Located halfway between Toronto and Niagara Falls, the City of Hamilton is the perfect place to practice your English language skills this summer!



Canadian Students:

  • Le portail des demandes est OUVERT!
  • Date limite d'inscription hâtive: 15 février 2020.
  • Inscrivez-vous!

International Students

  • Registration will open in February 2020.

Program Overview


WHO: Youth aged 14-18 who want to improve their English skills

WHEN: Sunday, July 5 - Thursday, August 6, 2020

WHERE: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

WHAT IS INCLUDED: Formal English classes for all levels, educational outings and workshops, day trips to Toronto and Niagara Falls, and the opportunity to make friends with students from Canada and other countries. 

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PARTNER: Our program is run in partnership with the Centre linguistique du collège de Jonquière in Quebec.


See the 2019 Explore calendar! (PDF)



About Our Program

Learn more!


Information for Canadian Students

Learn more!


Information for International Students

Learn more!


Why Hamilton, Ontario?


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Hamilton is a city like no other. It has a rich history and culture and is surrounded by nature. Known for its industrial heritage, Hamilton has a unique urban feel, a vibrant arts scene, and a bustling downtown.

Located between Lake Ontario and the Niagara Escarpment, Hamilton offers incredible access to nature trails, parks, waterfalls, museums, art galleries, and incredible restaurants and shopping experiences.

Check out the Tourism Hamilton website for more information about Hamilton. 



City of Hamilton Attractions

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There are many things to do and see in Hamilton, Ontario! 




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Photo courtesy of www.tourismhamilton.com.

What is included in the program?

English Classes

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A major part of the program is formal English language instruction by our qualified instructors. All of our English instructors are experienced, knowledgeable, and are able to offer differentiated instruction for each student. They also know how to make learning English fun!

Before arriving in Hamilton, all students must complete an online English test. Based on the results of the test, each student will be placed into a beginner, intermediate or advanced English class.

The English classes are held in the morning, 5 days a week (Monday to Friday). Lessons focus on reading and writing in English, as well as listening, comprehension, and speaking. Students from Quebec may be able to use the Explore program as credit for an English language course at their Cégep. 

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Another important part of the Explore Hamilton program are the mandatory workshops which allow students to develop their skills in different areas. The workshops change each year, depending on the skills and interests of the staff and students, but here are some examples of workshops we’ve had in the past:

  • Theatre
  • Music
  • Visual Arts
  • Sports Leadership
  • Multimedia
  • Science and Technology
  • Dance

Educational Outings

Students will participate in educational experiences at Mohawk College and at locations around Hamilton. 

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Examples of past educational activities:

  • Aboriginal Awareness Workshop
  • Intro to Code
  • Hamilton Sustainability Tour
  • Battlefield House Museum
  • Hamilton Museum of Steam & Technology
  • Woodland Cultural Centre
  • Dundurn Castle and Kitchen Garden

(Photo courtesy of Dundurn Castle)


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Hamilton’s convenient location allows us to take students on day trips to exciting destinations outside of Hamilton such as:


  • Downtown Toronto
  • Niagara Falls
  • Nearby beaches and Conservation Areas


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Accommodations & Meals

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Our students are placed with local host families who are chosen and monitored by Canada Homestay Network (CHN). 

What is CHN?

Canada Homestay Network (CHN) is a family-run, non-profit society that has been placing students in homestays since 1995. It is known for the quality of service it provides to students and works with each student to make sure they feel comfortable and safe in their homestay.

Why homestay? Is it safe?

Living with a host family provides students with an excellent support system, a safe and comfortable living environment, and opportunities to speak English outside of the classroom. Canada Homestay Network (CHN) inspects the home of each host family and the hosts are required to provide CHN with police record checks. Student safety is our top priority!

Will I be by myself?

There is usually more than one Explore student in each homestay. This provides students with an additional support system throughout the program. Students in the same homestay often become quite close and develop strong friendships.

When will I find out who my host is?

  • Canadian students will meet their homestay hosts when they arrive in Hamilton.
  • Parents of international students may request homestay host information in advance.


What is provided?

  • a bed in a private or shared room
  • sheets and towels
  • laundry facilities and laundry detergent
  • 3 meals each day (breakfast, lunch and dinner)


What if I have a severe allergy, dietary needs or medical issue?

We will make every effort to accommodate students with non-life-threatening allergies, dietary needs or medical issues. If a student has a severe allergy, dietary need or other medical issue, they may request their host's contact information in advance to discuss their needs. Please note: Mohawk College is not a nut-free facility.

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More Information For

Canadian Students

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Explore Bursary

The Government of Canada provides a bursary that covers the major expenses for participating in the Explore program. The funding covers tuition fees for the programs, instructional materials, meals and accommodations, workshops, and other mandatory activities. The funding is transferred directly to the host institution, and the participant will receive a tax receipt for it.

Please visit the Explore Program website for more information about the Explore bursary, who is eligible, draw dates, and how to apply.

Application Deadline: February 2020

Photo courtesy of www.myexplore.ca

2020 Dates - This is currently being determined. Please check back in December!

Arrival date in Hamilton: 
First day of program: 
Last day of program: 
Departure date: 
Program length: 

Additional Costs

Canadian students who receive the Explore bursary will still need to cover some of the costs. Aside from personal spending money (for snacks or souvenirs, etc.) there are three main costs that the participant must cover: registration fee, travel expenses, and bus pass.

1) Registration Fee ($275)

This non-refundable fee must be paid in order to reserve your place in the program. You only have to pay this fee after you have been accepted into the program.

2) Travel Expenses (variable amount)

Each participant is responsible for paying for their transportation to and from Hamilton. Participants will learn more about their transportation options after they have been accepted to the program.

3) Hamilton Bus Pass (approx. $100)

Each participant is required to purchase a bus pass for the City of Hamilton. This will allow the students to travel to and from Mohawk College and around the city during the program.

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Photo courtesy of www.prestocard.ca

Optional Pre-Paid Activities

After students are accepted to the program, they will have the opportunity to sign up and pay for optional, paid activities that take place outside of the regular program time. The cost for each activity can range from $20-$100.

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Examples of pre-paid activities from previous years:



Early-Bird Application Deadline (for Canadian students): 
February 2020

To Apply:
Visit the Explore Program website.

Explore 2019 Student Guide (for Canadian students)

English Student Guide (pdf) French Student Guide (pdf)

International Students


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We love having international students! In past years, we have welcomed students from France, Italy, Spain, Mexico, Russia, and Vietnam.


There are two program options for international students.

Option One: 32 Day Program

Length: Approximately 5 weeks
Arrival date in Hamilton: 
First day of program: 
Last day of program: 
Fly home: 

Cost (2019)
Program and accommodations: $4200 Canadian (includes homestay and 3 meals per day)
Program only: $3100 Canadian (does NOT include homestay or meals)

Option Two: 20 Day Program

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Length: Approximately 3 weeks
Arrival date in Hamilton: 
First day of program: 
Last day of program: 
Fly home: 

Cost (2019)
Program and accommodations: $3200 Canadian (includes homestay and 3 meals per day)
Program only: $2400 Canadian (does NOT include homestay or meals)

Travelling to Canada

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Flights are NOT included in the program fee. International participants are responsible for booking and paying for their flights to and from Canada.


The largest major airport near Hamilton is Toronto Pearson International Airport. 

There is also the Hamilton International Airport which is closer to Mohawk College, but much smaller.

Once you have booked your airline tickets, please email us the confirmation so that we can arrange to pick you up at the airport: explore [at] mohawkcollege.ca (subject: My%20Travel%20Details)

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What is included?

The fee for international students includes all of the following: 

  • Homestay accommodations and meals (included IF you choose that option when you apply)
  • English classes (5 mornings per week)
  • Workshops and educational outings (during weekdays and on weekends)
  • City of Hamilton bus pass
  • Airport pick-up and drop-off in Canada (please arrange this with us ahead of time)
  • Emergency health insurance (provided by Guard.Me International Insurance)
  • All pre-paid activities (These are activities that Canadian students must pay extra for, but are INCLUDED for international students)



Examples of pre-paid activities from previous years:

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What is NOT included?

Application Deadline for international students: April 2020

To Apply:
Email us at explore [at] mohawkcollege.ca 


  1. Complete the online application form. (We will send you the link.)
  2. Pay the $250 CDN deposit. Read and sign the Student Code of Conduct.
  3. If the student will be living with family, the Custodian Declaration form [pdf] must be completed. This form is not needed if the student stays with a Homestay family.
  4. We will send you an official Letter of Acceptance. 
  5. Apply for a visa or Electronic Travel Authorization from the Canadian government.
  6. Pay the remaining fees (the program fees, minus your $250 deposit).
  7. Book your transportation and email us your itinerary: explore [at] mohawkcollege.ca 
  8. Come to Canada for an amazing summer!


Want more information?

Please email us at: explore [at] mohawkcollege.ca