Immerse yourself into the rural North American way of life! Ranchstay will allow you to get in touch with your inner cowboy whilst still enjoying the comforts of living with a local farming family. Come and explore North America’s great wide open and it will be a memory that will last you a lifetime.
• Stay with a farming family in rural areas of the country to experience “authentic” farming life
• You will be matched to a suitable farm based on your goals and experience.
• Opportunities include accommodation and meals during your entire stay.
• This is a true “cultural exchange” which gives you the chance to gain insight into rural culture.
• You need to have a love of the outdoors, a rugged lifestyle and of course, animals!
What is the program about?
If you like the country life, tractors, horses, cattle and fresh air, and want to experience the great wide open, then Ranchstay is for you! Experience the vast openness of Marlboro country and be part of a local farming family. Ranchstay is for the cowboy/cowgirl at heart looking to spend some time on a ranch or farm away from all the bright lights and big cities. Ranchstay is for people looking to learn something about the community where they are placed and farming in general. Ranchstay gives you the chance to become involved with family activities and you have the possibility to get involved with many different parts of farm life, i.e. riding horses, driving the tractor etc. (depending on what is available). The program is not only about farming; it is a cultural exchange program where you get a real insight into local culture, mentality etc. The family takes you along when they visit neighbours, when they do their grocery shopping or when they go to events like rodeos, community festivals. It is not an easy life and everyone is expected to pitch in with all normal chores.
• Horse farms (breeding farm/training farm, horse boarding farm, farm with horses)
• Guest ranch (involves more household chores)
• Cattle ranch
• Alpaca farm
• Orchard/agricultural farm
• Mixed farm
• More farm types available upon request
WHY USE OUR SERVICES?
Ranchstay focuses on your objectives as opposed to the needs of the farm so placements are tailor built. It’s a bit like practicum vs. paid jobs. We not only take your requirements into consideration but also try to match your personality with the personality of the farm family. Usually we can get a good grasp of your personality by paying attention to how you write your letter of motivation, your pictures and work background. Since you are involved with the family 24/7 it is important that you both get along. Because of the personal relationships that we maintain with the farms we have more control over the placement. The farm families try to please us and make a better effort to provide a good experience to the candidate.
Ongoing support: We act as a mediator between you and the farm. We help with any questions, concerns; we kind of “hold your hand” through the process…. It’s nice to know that there is somebody in the country who takes care of you if things go sideways. Issues are not always related to Ranchstay; as an example we had a candidate whose boyfriend broke up with her by email. We found out through Facebook because she changed her relationship status to single. We contacted her and asked her if she was ok. We spent quite a bit of time just listening to her.
Security: Everything is prearranged prior to departure. You know where you will be staying.
WHAT IS INCLUDED?
• Placement includes food and board on the ranch. Farm profile will be sent prior to arrival.
• Participants are given access to a telephone and laundry facilities on the farm.
• Bedding and towels will be provided
• Arranging itinerary to the farm
• Mail - Holding service
• 24 hour emergency number
• Ongoing service and trouble shooting
WHAT DO I GET OUT OF IT?
• Learn about local culture
• Improve language skills
• Learn about farming in general
• Be involved with a local family 24/7
• Get to know the countryside
• Improve horsemanship skills (for candidates that are on a horse farm) or farming skills in general
WHAT DO I NEED TO PARTICIPATE?
• Must be physically fit
• Must not have any allergies or medical conditions
• Must be willing to participate in all activities provided by the farm including cleaning, maintenance and household chores. All participants will be expected to contribute to the daily chores and activities on the farm as any other member of the household. Other activities and events occur depending on the season (e.g. harvest festivals, foaling, or rodeos).
• Must be between the age of 20 and 28 (upon request, we may accept applicants younger than 20 or up to 30 years of age)
• Must have at least upper intermediate geos Level 4-5
• Must have a travel insurance
• Some types of farms require specific experience, i.e. horseback riding (horse training/breeding farms require applicants with at least 5 years riding experience; exceptions on a case by case basis
• In some cases the participant needs to undergo a phone interview with the Ranchstay supervisor and/or the farm family
WHAT DOCUMENTS DO I NEED?
• Application form
• Program Policies
• Resume (only if it includes relevant experience)
• Motivation letter in Word document; template attached (must include: characteristics/personality, experience relevant to Ranchstay, program objectives) THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT DOCUMENT!
• Horse questionnaire (attached) for candidates that want to stay on a farm with horses
• 2 references (if they have one)
• Copy of passport (picture page)
• 3-4 pictures in color (with animals, on vacation, with friends/family)
WHO ARE THE IDEAL PARTICIPANTS?
We are looking for people who are sociable, flexible, hardworking, physically fit, good at communicating with others and who really want to be here. Some placements require certain skill set but some do not.
WILL I HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY BEFORE I ARRIVE?
Yes; all placements are secured prior to arrival.
DO I GET PAID?
No; candidates pay a weekly fee for room and board.
WHAT PERMIT IS REQUIRED?
Any, including Visitor
WHEN CAN I START?
Ideal placement dates are between April and October. Options are limited in Fall/Winter.
HOW LONG IS THE PROGRAM?
4-24 weeks. (8-12 weeks recommended).
WHERE CAN I GO?
Placements are on small, family run farms in VERY remote and rural areas of Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia. Other provinces may be available upon request. Placement location is entirely at the discretion of the External Provider
ARE THEIR ANY OTHER SERVICES AVAILABLE?
• Language Training
• Hostel Package incl. breakfast, 1 year hostel membership (worldwide) with various discounts and free internet minutes
• Airport “Meet and Greet” in and transfer to Homestay family or hostel
• Organizing and booking of trips (Rockies, Whistler, Vancouver Island etc.)
WHAT OTHER EXPENSES WILL I HAVE?
Travel expenses to and from the farm (between $150 – 250 one way); pocket money
HOW DO I GET TO THE FARM?
You don’t need to come to Vancouver prior to their Ranchstay start date but can go directly to the farm. We will let you know the closest airport so you can book the flight accordingly. you may have to stay overnight in the city before taking the Greyhound bus to the farm the following day. If so, we will book the hostel and provide the schedule.
Candidates fly to Vancouver first (for vacation, language study etc.) and then go to the farm by either
a) Greyhound bus (www.greyhound.ca)
b) plane (www.aircanada.com; www.westjet.com)
c) organized student backpacker trips (www.moosenetwork.com)
Travel duration can be up to 20 hours! All travel arrangements will be made by us.
WHEN SHOULD I APPLY?
Minimum 8-12 weeks prior to their proposed program start date. Short notice applications MAY be accepted on a case by case basis. Applications will be processed only when all required documents are received. Once the applicant is accepted, a letter of confirmation (LOC) will be sent.
WHEN WILL I RECEIVE A PLACEMENT CONFIRMATION?
After the placement is confirmed, placement details will be sent. If candidates go directly to the farm, candidates will receive an arrival package/itinerary prior to departure.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT?
In order to have the program run smoothly and have happy candidates – thinking about your expectations is crucial! Please make sure that you know what they are getting into…. This program is NOT suitable for city princesses in high heels who want to pet the pony all day long.
WHAT ARE YOUR POLICIES?
Candidates who choose to shorten their Ranchstay program after they started the program are required to give 4 weeks written notice to the farm and to us to qualify for a refund of the remaining weekly fee. Participants are only offered one placement; choices of location and/or type of farm are not guaranteed. Candidate can be dismissed by the farm and/or by us at any time for CAUSE (including poor performance, misrepresentation of skills/education, lack of punctuality, inability to perform required tasks, etc.)
ANY OTHER THINGS TO THINK ABOUT?
You are not permitted to receive any form of salary or remuneration, and you will pay a weekly fee to stay on the farm. The type of host farm may be requested in advance (e.g. horse farm, cattle ranch, guest farm, etc.) and although we attempt to cater to specific requests (e.g. the family must have a tractor; the family should have a minimum of 10 horses, etc.), we cannot guarantee the specific conditions of the farm experience. Certain farm availability also depends on individual experience (e.g. horse training or breeding farms require horse riding experience). In some instances, lodging may be in a temporary, detached structure such as a trailer or tent. Although most farms do have internet access, it is NOT always the case. Many farms are outside of areas covered by wireless telecommunication systems and cellular telephones may not work. Any personal belongings (including notebook computers or cellular telephones) are brought entirely at the participants’ risk
1. Where will I undertake my placement? On a farm in rural areas of British Columbia, Alberta or
2. How far is it from GEOS Languages Plus schools in Canada to the farm communities? We have a range of farms ranging from 10 hours to 20 hours away.
3. How do I get to the farm? You will be given a choice on how you want to get to the farm. You can catch the bus (average cost is about $170 CAD) or you can fly.
4. Can I request a certain type of farm? Yes, you can certainly tell us your preferences, however, bear in mind that some farms are very popular. All positions have minimum requirements based on English level, experience, attitude, availability, medical conditions, start dates and length of commitment.
5. What kind of people are you looking for? We are looking for people who are outgoing, flexible, hardworking, good at communicating with others and who really want to be in here. Some placements require a certain skill set but some do not. Positions on a horse farm usually require horseback riding experience.
6. What will I do? We will organize a stay with a family based on your preferences and your personal goals as well as the time of year and type of farm you are interested in staying on. You will become a part of the family and join in all of their personal activities including animal grooming, riding horses, cleaning stalls, trips to town, rodeos, community events, dinner with family members, hiking, gardening, kayaking, etc.
7. Can I go with a friend or partner? Yes you can. We have a lot of success with friends/partners getting placements on the same farm. Please do be prepared, though, that it’s not guaranteed.
8. What happens if I am not offered a placement? You will be given a full refund for the costs associated to your program. (This does not include airfares or any other incurred expenses not related to External Provider.)
9. What if I am offered a placement I don't want? Unfortunately, if you do not wish to accept it then you will forfeit your program fee.
10. What if I accept the placement but do not like it? You can write to INTERNeX and explain the situation. If there is a valid reason for wanting to change locations we will send you a ‘request for change form’. Once we receive the form the placement search will begin. When a suitable position has been found then we will inform your current host farm. Only then can you move location. Replacement is not guaranteed!
11. What temperatures can I expect during the season? Summers are typically rather mild. Temperatures may reach 30 degree Celsius but on average, it is about 25 degrees. Winters can be very cold. Temperatures may reach – 30 degrees Celsius but the average temperature is about -10 degrees Celsius in most farm locations.
12. Will I need to take out travel insurance? It is compulsory for all foreign applicants to purchase travel insurance covering them for the duration of their stay. You may be asked at port of entry to show a proof.