If you’re a high school student looking for something to do for the summer, wanting to meet like-minded students from all over the country or even the world, or expand on what you’re learning in school, then this is the blog post for you! Below, I share my experiences about three programs I attended and I would absolutely recommend for anyone who loves new experiences and hands-on learning.

Encounters With Canada

I attended Encounters With Canada in grade 10, although it is aimed towards any student from grades 10 to 12. This is a week long program during the school year, and it is located at the Terry Fox Canadian Youth Centre in OttawaEvery week, over 100 students gather from all across Canada to connect and learn more about what passionates them. About one third of the time is dedicated to federal politics, another third is allocated towards Canadian culture and tourism, and the last third is spent on a unique theme which varies from week to week. From Arts and Culture to Sports and Fitness, from Medicine and Health to Communications and Social Media, Encounters With Canada offers up to 13 different themes. For a full list of the various themes, click here.


Geared towards students finishing their grades 10 to 12, I was one of the youngest participants when I attended SHAD the summer after my 10th grade. I spent the month of July on the University of Saskatchewan campus with 51 other students. However, SHAD is currently offered at 13 different university campuses across Canada, including the University of British Columbia and Ryerson University. For the full list of host campuses, click hereEvery summer, during the month of July, each campus welcomes around 45 to 60 students from all over Canada, and sometimes even the world. SHAD has a focus on business and engineering, but it also delivers countless workshops and lectures by professionals in the fields of science, math, dance, geography, video game design, improvisation… and many more. You will have the chance to pick what interests you most and discover new areas you might not have known about! Here are a few student testimonies on their experiences at SHAD.

International Summer School for Young Physicists

I attended the International Summer School for Young Physicists (ISSYP) the summer after I finished grade 11, although it is open to any student having just finished grades 11 or 12. It is a two week program situated at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo. Every summer for two weeks in July, ISSYP hosts 40 students who are passionate about physics. Usually, 20 of these students are Canadian, and 20 are international students. This program is focused on cutting edge theoretical physics, especially general relativity, special relativity, and quantum mechanics. If these seem complicated and scare you, that’s okay! I remember going into this not knowing anything about them, but I knew I was interested in physics and science. I left completely amazed by these fields and ready to tackle grade 12 and university with a better understanding of how the world works! You also get to tour the area and experience fun outings and road trips, like visiting Niagara Falls and going on the Maid of the Mist.

These three programs – Encounters With Canada, SHAD, and ISSYP – cover a wide range of interests and I encourage you to find out more about them. If these specific programs don’t interest you, do some research to find out about other programs in your fields of interest. These kinds of programs enrich your understanding of various fields, provide more hands on learning experiences, and help you meet like-minded students from all over the world, so don’t miss out on the these or other opportunities you may find.

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