Frequently Asked Questions

Canadian Program FAQ

What is the Northern Youth Abroad Canadian Program?
The NYA Canadian Program is a 10-month program that includes a 6-week placement in Southern Canada during July and August. Placements are spread out across the country and we have had participants stay in every province. You can read about past Participants experiences on the NYA Blog here.

Who can apply?
Any youth between the ages of 15 and 20 (as of June 1, 2020) living in Nunavut or the Northwest Territories can apply. You do not need to be in school to apply or participate.

What do Participants have to do?

  • Work on assignments in your home community between February and June with the help of a Mentor. These assignments help prepare you for your summer placements in the south.
  • Attend a five-day Orientation program in Ottawa before travelling to your host communities for five weeks. All NYA Participants attend Orientation and it’s a great time to meet other youth, and get ready for your placement.
  • Stay with a local host family and work full-time at a volunteer work placement. All participants travel and live with another NYA participant (who we call a placement buddy) during the summer.
  • After the placements are finished, all participants return to Ottawa to attend a 5-day Re-Orientation before returning home.
  • After returning home participants complete a series of fall assignments.

What are the dates of the placement?

The dates for the 2020 Canadian Program placement are likely:

Participants Arrive in Ottawa: July 1st, 2020

Orientation in Ottawa: July 1st–July 6th

Placement in Host Community: July 7th-August 6th

Re-Orientation: August 7th-12th

Participants Travel Home: August 13th

What can I expect from participating in the Canadian Program?
Lots! You will earn high school credits, gain valuable skills and work experience, learn about new cultures while sharing your own, meet many new people, including other northern youth, and have fun! You can also expect to be challenged and overcome obstacles that will help you grow and become a stronger, more confident and more independent person.

What do I have to do as a participant?

  • Be committed to the program. You can get a lot out of NYA but you need to work hard too!
  • Be willing to challenge yourself and live away from home for 6 weeks.
  • Follow the behaviour policy, which includes agreeing not to drink alcohol or do drugs during all parts of the program placement.
  • Live with a host family during the summer placement.
  • Be committed to volunteer at a work placement for 35 hours per week while on placement.
  • Complete assignments before, during, and after the summer placement.
  • Fundraise $1,000 towards your participation.

How do I apply?

  • Click here to fill out the online Application Form.
  • If you can’t fill out the form online you can pick up an Application Form from your school.
  • You will also need to get 2 adults (your Mentor and one other person) to fill out “Participant Referral Forms” for you and send them with your application. A Mentor is someone you choose in your community who is willing to help you with your assignments and prepare for your summer travels.

Why do I need to submit referral forms?
It is difficult to select participants for the program without having an idea of who you are and how NYA can help you. These tools help us get to know you. It is important that we select participants who will gain a lot from the experience and who are willing to commit to participating.

Who can fill out a referral form for me?
Any adult who is not part of your immediate family. They could be a teacher, boss, coach, or family friend. Remember that one of your referral forms needs to be filled out by your Mentor.

If I am selected is there any cost?
There is no cost to you, but you will need to do a small amount of fundraising before travelling.

After I apply what will happen next?

  • NYA will let your Mentor know when we receive your application.
  • NYA will contact you to schedule a short phone interview with one of our selection teams.
  • You will know whether or not you are selected by mid-December
  • Selected Participants and Alternates will receive their first assignment pack at the beginning of February.

How many participants are selected?

  • Usually between 36 and 40 participants.
  • We also select a number of alternates who are ‘participants in waiting’. Each year, a number of participants withdraw from the program for various reasons before travelling, and an alternate takes their place. Alternates who are up to date on their assignments have a good chance of being promoted to a participant spot.

Where can I get more information on the program?

  • Find out more on the Canadian Program page of our website.
  • Read the experiences of past participants here.
  • Find Northern Youth Abroad on Facebook and ‘like’ us for updates and to stay in touch.
  • Talk to NYA Alumni or past Mentors in your community who are familiar with NYA. If you don’t know who to talk to, let us know and we will give you contact information for someone who has completed the program.
  • Contact the NYA Office. Staff can answer your questions or send you more info.

What if I need help?
Ask your Mentor for help or call the NYA Office to talk to the Staff (Rebecca, Nick, Kira, Alissa, Laura and Penny). We are happy to help you! Call us at 1-866-212-2307 or e-mail

When are applications due?
November 12th 2019. Our fax line gets VERY busy close to the deadline, so it’s a good idea to complete your application online or send it by fax as soon as you can. Remember, if you submit your application online it won’t get jammed in the fax or lost in the mail!

I was selected as a Participant – what comes next?
You will receive a letter confirming that you were selected as a Participant and you will have to fill out a Participant confirmation form that says that you accept your spot. In January you will receive your Winter Assignment Package and will begin working on assignments.

I was selected as an Alternate – what is an Alternate?
Each year we select as many Alternates as we do Participants. Alternates take the place of a Participant who decides not to travel with NYA, or if they are de-selected because they are not keeping up to date with assignments. Alternates do almost all of the same assignments that Participants do. Most Alternates will be offered a Participant spot the year that they are selected as an Alternate, but if an Alternate does all of their assignments and is not offered a spot they are guaranteed to have a Participant spot in the program the next year.

I was selected as an Alternate – what comes next?
You will receive a letter confirming that you were selected as an Alternate and you will have to fill out an Alternate confirmation form that says that you accept your spot. In January you will receive your Winter Assignment Package and will begin working on assignments.

Next & International Program FAQ

Click here to see the frequently asked questions for the Next and International Programs.