A great adventure and a magnificent year
We know that the current practice of using data to inform decision making is a quintessential part of the process in education. With that in mind, let’s look at the statistics of our exchange to Canada.
Twenty flights, four countries, 26 counties, 22 states and six provinces.
What an adventure!
The process of exchange really is an opportunity of a lifetime. There is no way on this earth that you could possibly explore a continent like we have managed to, on a simple family holiday. The ability to work while living overseas has afforded us opportunities that would have only been a pipe dream without teacher exchange.
For instance; watching Daniel Ricciardo take the podium in third place at the Montreal Formula 1 was phenomenal. Walking the track and picking up tyre remnants as souvenirs was unforgettable. Paddling in the Atlantic Ocean then watching monster 12 metre tides retreat and reveal massive sea caves that we were able walk in and explore, where boats rest on the ocean floor at their moorings and six hours later are bobbing along with the current. Meandering along the inside channel in the Gulf of Alaska, riding the Alaska Railroad and staring, mouths agape, in absolute awe at the most spectacular, untouched vistas we have ever had the privilege to cast our eyes upon. Not to mention seeing moose, bison and elk grazing as you pass. Touring the Canadian Rockies, hiking through canyons, traversing glaciers, filling our water bottles with clear, crisp ice cold melt water and cruising along glacial lakes that mirror the towering mountains.
From the wilderness to the big smoke, Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago and Washington DC. We explored these vibrant metropolises each with their own cultural flavour. We took the children to their very first rock concert, the Foo Fighters, where they wanted to make a sign saying, ‘We’re your smallest biggest fans’. We became spectators at baseball, ice hockey, basketball and NASCAR events. These experiences name but a few of the lifelong memories we have made over the past 12 months.
At a deeper level, there are a few precious people that have become more than mere colleagues. Friendships of the truest form that will continue long after we return home to the land down under – and for this I will be forever grateful. There really is so much to explore, places to see and experience while on exchange. Be it as simple as heading to a Provincial Park, teeing up a major sporting event or indeed planning a weekend away.
This process gave us a greater appreciation of the sacrifice of my parents, when they packed up their life in Ireland with a two year old in tow and another on the way, and moved to Australia. They did this purely to afford my sister and I opportunities in education and career that would not have been available to us otherwise.
Exchange is not all peaches and cream, there are some challenges that will be different for each family, yet can be overcome nonetheless. However, the opportunity to live and work for a year in another country, knowing that you have the security of returning to your position, your home and your familiar life when you return is a security blanket that overarches the entire process.
This is one year of your life. A magnificent year. Twelve months, 365 days, 525,600 minutes. How will you measure your year?
St. Anthony’s Primary School Picton
*This article appeared in the February 2018 edition of Newsmonth online.