Let an exchange into your life

There are still some exciting exchanges available to Canada commencing January 2016, including Catholic primary positions. These are now on the Union’s website(teacher exchange). For those members who have already applied for an exchange for next year, you too are being placed on our counterpart in Canada’s website. So stay positive and let’s hope for some ‘exchange’ news soon, any of the stories below could be you. Please contact Exchange Coordinator Helen Gregory on 82028900 or emailhelen@ieu.asn.au for news and further details.Here’s some exchange news.

This was going to be our year for a sea change, except that it was a snow change. And what a change it has been. We arrived at Toronto airport on the night of 30 January 2015, from a hot south coast NSW summer into -7 degrees C and a cold wind funneling through the airport while we waited for our hotel shuttle bus. We arrived in Sugarbush, near Orillia where we were to find our new home for the next 12 months to a baptism of snow. The day I started school, 5 January was called as a snow day, as there had been so much snow that the buses wouldn’t run and not many children would go to school. It is amazing to live in the snow and have to drive with winter tyres through blizzards and freezing rain at times. Getting used to helping 26 Junior and Senior Kindergarteners putting snowpants, boots, jackets, hat and mits on has been an experience I’ll never forget - then to see them charge out to play in the snow is a sight to behold.
While I teach, my husband John has taken the year off and is being the perfect house husband, cooking and cleaning, while snowboarding every second day at the local ski resort, five minutes down the road. We feel we have embraced the winter and have cross-country skied and snowshoed locally in provincial parks and up to the truly spectacular Algonquin Park. We took a bus trip with the Aussies to Quebec City, which is steeped in history and tradition. We tried ice fishing on Keppenfelt Bay in -40 degrees celsius and survived. For our March break, we went to Niagara Falls and New York City to pack in as many activities as possible in our time there. Both were mind blowing and the best part for us was the 9/11 Museum. It was confronting and emotional. Seeing Les Mis on Broadway, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, a ferry tour to the Statue of Liberty, going to the top of the Empire State Building and the Metropolitan Art Museum as well as food on foot tours to taste local food were among the highlights.
It is now Spring, the snow has melted and new adventures await as we begin to hike in the provincial parks, mountain bike their numerous rail trails and sea kayak and canoe the massive amount of lake systems in Ontario. The choices are endless if you love the outdoors.
Four months down the track and we have been away long enough to be missing home, family and friends. However we will have a long eight-week break where we are planning to travel through and explore Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador. And the exciting thing is when we come back we will have visitors from home. What a great opportunity for them as well!
We saw the ads for the Ontario exchanges. Tell anyone who applies not to hesitate as it will be the experience of a lifetime. They are welcome to email us or checkout John’s blog. It is 12 monthsincanadia.blogspot.com
Hope it works out. Will email again when we have more adventures.
Stephanie and John Jakimyszyn are from Nowra and exchanged with Chy-Anne and Neil Finney who featured in the last issue of Newsmonth.

Exchange from St Joseph’s

My first exchange position, as a young single in 1996, was so out of my world amazing and I promised myself I would do it again in the future! I believe I stayed at home about five weekends that whole year. I met so many other Aussies on exchange through organised events and the staff at my school became some of my best friends.
Between this exchange and now I got side tracked getting married and having babies but was lucky my husband saw the value of exchange in our lives. So, here I am currently on my second exchange teaching position in Canada (Woo-hoo!)but with a young family, including a five, seven and eight year old! What a memorable and informative year they are experiencing.
Exchange teaching is a revitalising break from the ordinary. If you are like me and you love teaching and travel then I couldn’t recommend it more. Everyday in my family’s life there’s something new to experience: words, foods, sights,accents, rules, architecture, etc. So far this year we’ve had a Snow Day (gotta love Canada – a day off school because there’s too much snow falling!) gone down hill and cross country skiing,snow shoeing, ice skating across a frozen lake, attended exciting ice hockey games,visited Quebec City for their Winter Carnival (just a little bit chilly at -35c),visited Ottawa where we slide down many free ice slides on tubes and our bottoms as well as skating on the famous Rideau Canal, visited Montreal where we ate yummy French food and attended Jazz and Blues Clubs and visited Niagara Falls. We hope we can fit in so much more over our nine-week summer break traveling throughout Canada and the USA.
Professionally, during both exchanges,I have found adapting to cultural and curriculum changes painless, as leadership and staff are so welcoming and ready to help. Not understanding small things gives you the perfect opportunityto ask someone and therefore get to know them. Teaching in Australia really prepares you if you encounter something puzzling – as Aussies we just adapt and get on with it! It’s a great opportunity tolearn/teach new concepts and processes when I swap ideas with my colleagues.
Every day teaching and traveling in Canada is a marvel. I’m looking forward to my third exchange.
Rosanne McGrath is on exchange from St Joseph’s Riverwood to Misissauga Ontario and exchanged positions with Pamela Van Kooten.