International Exchanges is a one-week program for Ontario principals and vice-principals with three essential components

  1. shared knowledge
  2. immersed learning
  3. inquiry-based research

It is grounded in the principles of the Ontario Leadership Framework.

Applicants complete a personal profile survey that matches them with an international colleague. Participants job shadow their partner over a week-long exchange. Accommodation and meals are provided by exchange partners.

Participants are asked to select an area of focus to investigate over the course of the exchange.


International Exchanges aims to give participants the opportunity to

  • travel
  • make new acquaintances
  • learn first-hand how the role of school administrators differs across international districts and school systems
  • engage in a self-reflective process that improves their ability to examine their own practices, ask questions and make changes
  • build international Professional Learning Communities to foster ongoing learning and
  • contribute to and learn from international best practices in education administration and school/system leadership.  

Exchange Roster 2024 

  • Denmark: Ontario principals visit March 9-17, 2024 (Registration Deadline: November 6)
  • Finland: Ontario principals visit March 9-17, 2024 (Registration Deadline: November 6)
  • New Zealand: Ontario principals visit March 9-17, 2024 (Registration Deadline: November 6)
  • New Zealand: Ontario principals visit for 7 days between July 20 - August 17, 2024 (registration deadline extended to November 20)

Each matched partnership can decide on a mutually agreed date to host the guest principal in Ontario.

Following the registration deadline, all profiles will be reviewed and you will receive a response related to the status of your submission by November 20, 2023. 


This professional growth opportunity is available to principals and vice-principals for a registration fee of $350 + HST when advised that a match has been found. A $25 + HST non-refundable fee is required for the initial match coordination. *You must be logged in to the OPC website to make your payment.

All transportation costs to and from the partnering country are the responsibility of the participant, as are expenses incurred in the visiting country.


To partake in the exchange, participants must be:

  • an OPC member/ or associate member
  • an acting principal or vice-principal
Program Overview
International Exchanges is a formalized job shadowing program where Ontario principals participate in this international exchange program with colleagues from abroad. As we become more and more focused on improving student performance, we recognize that we have much to share with and to learn from our colleagues in other countries engaged in the same pursuit.

We have had excellent 7-day exchanges with Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Italy where our Ontario principals travelled abroad over March Break with the return visit being the previous fall, or in the spring. Our exchanges with Australia and New Zealand have been 10 days in length with our Ontario principals travelling abroad at the end of July/beginning of August and the visiting principals travelling to Ontario in the fall.

The program has three key components: shared knowledge, immersed learning and inquiry-based research.

Each Ontario principal is matched with an international school leader through the data they provide through a International Exchange Survey Profile. Shared knowledge by like-minded professionals forms the basis for deep conversations.

Secondly, each principal will job shadow their partner during the exchange with accommodation/meals being provided, thus reducing the cost of international travel significantly. By hosting at school and in the home, the exchanges create international professional learning communities where the friendships and cultural experiences are exemplary and long-lasting. Culturally and professionally, former International Exchanges participants have pronounced these experiences as exceptional and undoubtedly, the best professional development of their careers. 

Finally, school leaders will work on improving student achievement by selecting a specific area of focus to investigate. After the exchange, each Ontario participant will be asked to complete a brief feedback form to gather information about the exchange program's effectiveness and their professional learning insights and growth.

When educators are exposed to experiences totally outside their regular environments, they can look with a ‘clear’ lens at their own practices and ask the relevant questions necessary for change to occur. The self-reflective process heightens the ability of a school leader to focus on the merits of a school program within their district and then have directed conversations with their professional partners. As both provincial and international learning communities take these conversations to deeper levels, the insights gained are profound.

Past Topics of Study and Exchanges

Past Topics of Study:

  • What are the conditions necessary to create a culture of innovation?
  • How to build oral language strategies among Early Years students with special education needs
  • How to build community in and outside of school.
  • How 21st Century learning and technology can transform school assessment and instructional practices.
  • What structures are in place to support students with special needs and how do staff communicate so that all involved with these students are working to meet their needs?
  • What are effective ways to support secondary teachers moving towards 21st century teaching and learning strategies?
  • How can we make global connections, and create innovative learning environments for the future?
  • How are literacy and numeracy planned, delivered and assessed?

Past Exchanges:

  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Italy
  • Norway
  • Sweden
  • Denmark
  • Finland

Questions? Email globalopportunities@principals.ca

No refunds will be administered. If you encounter a special circumstance where a cancellation is required, we will review these requests in writing on a case-by-case basis.