This year has turned out to be all that I dreamed of and more. By more I mean the stunning scenery of snow covered pine trees, the beautiful Muskoka Lakes and of course the serene colour of the lakes in the Rocky Mountains.
Professionally this adventure has taught me so much and also confirmed a lot – at the heart of education is the relationships we form with the students we teach and with our colleagues, no matter where we are.
The staff at St Mary’s Huntsville have embraced my Australian culture, while supporting me through the adjustment of a new curriculum in another country. I have loved collaborating with the staff and I am truly grateful for this experience. I know I will take a lot away from this experience to support my future teaching.
As a family of five it has been amazing to see how close we have all become. My three children have embraced all things Canadian from their love of maple syrup, to their new found skills of skiing, canoeing, ice hockey and a game called gaga ball.
During our time in Canada we have managed to travel extensively around Ontario, including seeing Niagara Falls, absorbing the French culture of Quebec, to the Rocky Mountains and the east coast of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. We have also travelled easily around the US from LA, San Francisco, Las Vegas, New York, Washington, Boston and more.
The language differences have been funny to say the least. Upon arrival I couldn’t close my car boot so I asked my neighbour to help. When he showed up he was very confused as he thought I needed help with my snow boot not the car trunk.
We have been fortunate to have deer in our backyard, see moose and a black bear cub up close on the side of the road. The chipmunks and squirrels are in abundance too.
I am forever grateful to my principal in Australia and my colleagues at St Joseph’s Charlestown for supporting my professional and personal goal of this exchange, my amazing Canadian exchange family – the Foxcroft family who have made this so memorable and the IEU – in particular IEU Exchange Coordinator Helen Gregory for organising this exchange.
Kathryn Hill on exchange at Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Muskoka Lakes