Exchange postcard

"We have just got back after our inside passage cruise and Alaskan rail adventure up to Fairbanks via Anchorage, Talkeetna and Denali. Wow, what a journey! We had an absolute ball. Jenny’s best mate Anne and her husband joined us in Vancouver and we travelled together. It was great to have some Aussie mates visit us in Canada. We are having a cracker of a time in this beautiful country and still have three weeks holidays left, which will include a trip to New York and the Grand Canyon.From Greg Hayes, who is on exchange in Canada from a Lismore diocese school."

Port Macquarie or Port Paradise

Helen Gregory, IEU Exchange Coordinator, and IEU President Chris Wilkinson visited St Joseph’s Regional College recently for a meeting with college principal Jim Dempsey, a tour of the school and a reunion with past and future exchange teachers. St Joseph’s will have two exchanges next year and both from Alberta.

Going through the exchange database, Helen easily gave the ‘Port Paradise’ award to St Joseph’s as it has or will have 10 teachers on staff who have participated in the exchange program; followed by Mackillop College (five); St Joseph’s Primary School (three); Newman College (three); St Columba’s Anglican School (two); St Joseph’s Primary Laurieton (two); St Peter’s Primary (one) and St Agnes’s Primary (one).

Trevor and Becky Erga, on exchange to Port Macquarie from Camrose Alberta a number of years ago with their family, said at the Welcome Reception for incoming teachers that ‘we are in paradise’; eventually emigrated here and are now proud Australian citizens!

So if all these Port people have the power to do it; so can you!

Recalling a dream trip

In 2005, Maureen Johnson came to Australia from Ontario, Canada as part of IEU’s teacher exchange program. She taught at St Canice’s Primary in Katoomba and lived in the community with her husband and four children for a year before returning home. The experience had a positive impact on her and her family and she said that “my kids still talk about our trip to Australia”.

“I’d always wanted to come to Australia, ever since I was a little girl. The teacher exchange was really the only feasible way to be able to go and experience the culture and not just visit and leave. So it was really quite an experience for my family because we were part of the community,” Maureen said.

Back in Australia on holiday recently, Maureen used the opportunity to ‘touch base’ with her old kindergarten class, who are now in Year 12 and about to graduate.

“They sang the songs and said the poems and told the stories that I had totally forgotten and that they had still remembered.

“I was really touched.”

On her experience teaching in an Australian school, Maureen said: “They were open to what I brought, which was lovely because my ideas were new and fresh I loved that they let me go to different schools to go and see how other teachers taught. I liked that because you could take what you liked and make it your own.”