About Our Program

Mohawk college student at an assembly

A Typical Week at Explore

7am - 9am: Eat breakfast at your homestay. Take a city bus to Mohawk College.

  Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

9:00am -


Optional pre-paid activity or a free day

English class English class English class English class

English class and Friday assembly

Saturday outing

(all students)


- 1:30pm 

Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch


Optional pre-paid activity ends



Group Activities




Educational Outings (1:30-4:30pm)



Saturday outing ends
Evening Dinner at homestay & free time Dinner at homestay & free time Dinner at homestay & free time Dinner at homestay & free time Dinner at homestay & free time Dinner at homestay & free time Dinner at homestay & free time
Curfew 10:00pm 10:00pm 10:00pm 10:00pm 10:00pm 11:00pm 11:00pm

Learn More

Click on each section below to learn more about our program!

English Classes

smiling student sitting at desk in classroom

A major part of the Explore program are our high quality English classes. The English classes take place Monday to Friday from 9:00am until 12:30pm. Students receive approximately 17.5 hours of formal instruction each week. There are approximately 20 students in each English class and there are five levels, from beginner to advanced.

Our courses are taught by certified teachers with experience teaching English as a secondary language. All of our English teachers are experienced, knowledgeable, and able to offer differentiated instruction for each student. They also make learning English fun!

Lessons include: speaking and listening, comprehension, grammar, current idioms, and other linguistic skills. The main focus is on oral communication in the cultural context of Ontario. To meet the requirements of the Explore program, you must attend all courses and pass the exams.

One of the Explore's program class featuring Nicole's Class

English Tests

Before you arrive, you must take an online English test. This will allow us to place you in the correct class. During the first English class, your teacher will evaluate your oral skills to make sure you were placed in the correct level. At the end of the program, you will do the online English test a second time in order to assess your learning.


You are expected to attend every English class. Attendance will be taken at the beginning of each class and marks will be deducted from your final grade for unapproved absences. After any unapproved absences, you will meet with the program staff and disciplinary action will be taken.

Afternoon Workshops

group of smiling high school students.jpg

Another important part of the Explore program are the afternoon workshops which are taught by our amazing staff. These workshops allow students to practice their English while developing their skills in different areas. There are approximately 15 students in each workshop. The workshops we offer change each year, depending on the skills and interests of the staff and students.

Here are some examples of workshop themes we’ve had in the past:

  • Theatre/Improvisation
  • Vocal Music
  • Instrumental Music
  • Visual Arts
  • Sports Leadership
  • Multimedia
  • Science and Technology
  • Dance


A group of Explore students gardening

There are two workshop sessions during Explore. Each session is approximately 2.5 weeks long and consists of 5-6 workshops on the same theme (e.g. dance, music, art).

Students will have the opportunity to choose one workshop theme for the first session and a different workshop theme for the second session.

At the end of each session, there is a Workshop Expo where students showcase what they learned and created during that session. 

Educational Activities

Dundurn Castle

Each week, Explore students will participate in one educational activity in Hamilton or the surrounding area.

Examples of past educational activities:

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

Students participating in a workshop

Saturday Outings


Each Saturday, Explore staff will accompany students on day trips to exciting destinations such as:

  • Downtown Hamilton
  • Downtown Toronto
  • Niagara Falls
  • Nearby beaches or conservation areas (e.g. Port Dover)

4 Explore students sitting near Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

Toronto skyline with CN Tower


5 Explore students on a beach

Port Dover


Accommodations & Meals

Canada Homestay Network logo

Canada Homestay Network (CHN)

Website : Canada Homestay Network (CHN)

Explore students stay with local families during their time in Hamilton. Each host family is vetted and chosen by Canada Homestay Network (CHN). Homestay placements and accommodation details are the responsibility of CHN. Your host family will be chosen for you based on the information you submit in your official registration form.

Homestay families are subject to a thorough review, including a criminal record check, interviews, and a home inspection.

What is provided

  • a furnished room with a window
  • a bed in a private or shared room (with another Explore student)
  • clean bedding (sheets, pillow, blankets)
  • storage for your belongings such as a dresser or a closet
  • access to a shared bathroom
  • a quiet place to study; usually in your own room
  • laundry facilities and laundry detergent
  • working smoke detectors in the house
  • adequate heat, light and ventilation

About Homestay Families

You will experience life with an English speaking family during your stay, giving you even more opportunities to speak English. Regardless of the ethnicity or religion of your host family, you can rest assured that we have chosen a family that will welcome you into their home. All homestay families must speak English with you, even if they were born in another country. It is important to be open to people from different cultures, as Hamilton is multicultural city.

Ontario families enjoy family life and are open to discussions on many different topics. They may be more conservative in their routines and strict on schedules and rules. 

Families welcome students for personal reasons, such as wanting to know people from another culture. Although homestay families are paid for your accommodation, the non-monetary rewards are very important to them.

Host Family Expectations

• You are expected to spend evenings and weekends with your host family.

• Your family will want to know your tastes and preferences, and learn about your family and friends.

• Do not treat the host family as a hotel where you only eat and spend the night. Try to integrate yourself into your family's daily routine as much as possible.

• If you do not understand what someone is saying to you, please ask them to speak more slowly or to repeat what they said. Your host family and community members want to assist you as much as possible!


Although some families only accept one student, most host families accept two or more students. There is a good chance that you will be placed with another student in the Explore program. Students are placed with others of the same sex.


  • Breakfast: At your homestay.
  • Lunch: The family will provide you with a nutritious lunch that you will take to school. You might make your own lunch in some homestays.
  • Dinner: With the host family, usually between 6-7pm.

Make sure you are on time for meals!

Homestay Coordinator

If you have any problems or issues with your host family, please speak with the homestay coordinator to find a solution.

They can you give you suggestions or speak with your host family on your behalf. The homestay coordinator will be on campus during the first week of Explore, and available by appointment throughout the program.

We want you to feel comfortable with your homestay family and will do all that we can to make your stay enjoyable.


You will have access to free wifi on campus. You will receive the password when you arrive.

Please use the free campus wifi for any big downloads. Your host family may not have an unlimited internet package that allows long periods of streaming or large downloads.


We recommend that you bring a cell phone to Hamilton with data and a long distance plan. Your host family may not have a landline with a long distance plan. If necessary, you can buy a long distance calling card after you arrive in Hamilton.

Serious allergies

If you have serious, life threatening allergies, we will ask your host family to contact you to discuss your allergies before you arrive.


Sunday to Thursday: 10 pm    |    Friday and Saturday: 11 pm

For your safety, you must be home by curfew each night. If you miss the curfew, disciplinary action will be taken and you may  be expelled from the program. Students must sleep at their own homestay home each night. Students may not spend the night at another homestay or any other location. Parents are not allowed to exempt their child from mandatory activities or curfew without the written permission of the Director. 

Missing Curfew

If you are going to arrive home after curfew, you must inform your host family as soon as possible! Homestay families are responsible for your safety and well-being and will worry if you are not home on time. If you miss curfew, you will meet with Explore staff and will receive disciplinary action.

Homestay FAQs

Older woman and teenager talking in a kitchen

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. Learn more about CHN from their website (external link).

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. 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.

How do meals work?

Your host family will provide you with three meals each day: breakfast, lunch and dinner. Your host may make your meals, or they may provide you with food to make your own meals. Each family will have their own routine and expectations for meals. Please discuss this with your family at the beginning of the program.

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, their homestay family will contact them before the programs begins to discuss their individual needs and safety protocols.

Please note: Mohawk College is not a nut-free facility.

Campus Gym (DBARC)

DBARC gym.jpg

Gym/Fitness Centre

Mohawk College has a modern fitness centre called the David Braley Athletic & Recreation Center (DBARC). The DBARC features 3 gymnasiums, a fitness center, a multi-purpose studio and a covered track in over 64,000 square feet of space.

  • You must be 16 or older to purchase a membership.
  • The gym membership is paid after you arrive. Cost: $10-20
  • Membership includes access to the fitness center and to group fitness classes.
  • You must wear appropriate sports clothing when using the facilities (sneakers, shorts, sweatpants, fitness t-shirts, etc.).
  • Lockers are included in your membership fee, but you must bring your own lock.
  • If you will be 16-18 during the Explore program and would like to purchase a gym membership at Mohawk, you must bring a signed waiver with you to Hamilton.

View the DBARC waiver forms.

Explore Policies


1) Speaking English
Explore students are expected to speak English at all times. Explore students are responsible for maintaining an English immersion environment for themselves and for other Explore students. Speaking a language other than English  interferes with the goals of the program and impedes the learning of other students. 

Students will be rewarded for speaking English, having a positive attitude, and actively participating in all classes and activities. Students who do not speak English will meet with program staff and receive disciplinary action.

2) Curfew

Sunday to Thursday: 10:00pm
Friday & Saturday: 11:00pm

For your safety, you must be home by curfew each night. If you miss the curfew, disciplinary action will be taken and you may  be expelled from the program. Students must sleep at their own homestay home each night. Students may not spend the night at another homestay or any other location. Parents are not allowed to exempt their child from mandatory activities or curfew without the written permission of the Director. 

3) Leaving Hamilton

Students may not leave the City of Hamilton without written permission from the Director.

4) Prohibited Items

The following items are strictly prohibited:
• cigarettes/tobacco
• e-cigarettes/vaping devices
• alcohol
• marijuana
• non-prescription drugs
• weapons

The above items are prohibited for youth under provincial and federal laws. Possessing or using these items will result in expulsion from the program. 

Alcohol: Students may not drink alcohol at any time during the program. The legal drinking age in Ontario is 19. Any minor who breaks the Liquor License Act may receive be fined or arrested by police.

5) Crime
Any student who breaks the law will be expelled from the program. 

Vandalism: Students will be held responsible for any vandalism during the program and will be required to pay for any  damages.

6) Consequences
Written warnings will be given to students who do not follow the rules or who engage in unacceptable behaviour at any time during the program. The reasons for the warning will be recorded and disciplinary action will be taken. The consequence will depend on the severity of the behaviour. 

Possible consequences include:
• being grounded
• writing a short essay
• an email or phone call to parents/guardians
• expulsion from the program

7) Expulsion
If a student is expelled from the program, they must leave Hamilton within 24 hours at their own expense. No refunds will be given. The student will not receive a certificate of completion. The decision of the director is final. 

Contact Us

explore [at] mohawkcollege.ca (explore[at]mohawkcollege[dot]ca)