Australia Testinmonial – Jessica – Peterborough, ON


Home: Peterborough, Ontario

University: Western

Subject Area: Primary, sponsored on long-term contract with partner

What Leading Out support and services have you enjoyed, or have assisted you, the most?

Leading Out has helped us  all along the way in preparation for my arrival. They booked our flights, set up our bank account, found us a place to live, and regularly checked up on us to see how I am going. They even picked myself and my fiancée up in Melbourne and drove us 4 hours to our rual school. They have made all the difference in making this process as easy as possible.

The best place travelled within Australia:

Being in Australia has completely changed the way that I view the world. It was such an eye opener coming to a new country and not knowing anything as to what I was getting into. Working in a small rural community has made it somewhat difficult to travel too far in Australia. On Term 1 break I went on an amazing trip starting in Melbourne, all the way up The Great Ocean Road, to Adelaide. I saw so many beautiful coastal scenes, went surfing in Torquay, found Koalas in the wild, saw The 12 Apostles, a colony of white kangaroos in Bordertown, experienced Blue Lake in Mnt. Gambier, and the Giant Lobster in Kingston. It was absolutely amazing to see the beauty that is Australia.  One of my favourite things to do around where I am living is to go hiking in the Grampian Mountain Range. It is absolutely stunning with heaps of different hiking trails and fairly difficult climbs.

Tips for International Teachers?

For other teachers coming to Australia I would tell them to always keep an open mind. It is so important to try anything and everything while you are here to gain the full experience of such a wonderful country. You may only be here for a year and therefore all that you can fit, while also juggling teaching, is extremely important.

You’re going to miss Tim Hortons.  It is inevitable and the food here is quite different. I’ve tried Kangaroo and it is delicious when it is marinated. You’ll also find that there are always barbeques to go to where you bring your own food and drinks and everyone just cooks up their food and has a good time. Snags (sausages) are very popular and Australians rarely use buns on bbq burgers and sausages!

It is so important to keep strong contact with home. When school may seem rough or you’ve had a bad day, you need to make sure you do something for yourself and have that contact with home to keep you sensible and sane. Skype has been a saviour for me and I get to speak with my parents every weekend.

Everything is more expensive: food, makeup, clothing, internet, everything. Make sure you bring a lot of supplies that you use daily so that you do not have to spend so much more down the road. Despite what people think, it does get cold here. While winter is just rolling around here, I should have listened when they told me to bring my winter coat. I thought if anything it would be cheap enough to buy one here, but the prices are so much higher that it was not worth it. My parents are bringing me one when they come over instead. Also, it is extremely hot in summer, and even if you do not use it at home, always wear sunscreen!

Last but not least, become a well known member around your school. Volunteer for everything, excursions, sporting events, camps, staff events, student events, etc. This is your time to learn as much as possible and it is an easy way of seeing a lot more of the country. I was lucky enough to go on a year 11 Outdoor Education camp to Port Fairy and will be going on another one to the Grampians. I got to learn how to surf, learn how to rock-climb on a mountain, learn how to scuba dive and best of all, it was free for me to go.

What have you enjoyed most about teaching in Victoria?

Teaching in Australia is both different and somewhat similar compared to Canada. Seeing as how this is my first full time position and I do not have much experience to compare it to, it is none the less a once in a lifetime opportunity in the field in which I have studied to work in. It has been quite interesting being a year 7 Co-ordinator and starting off each of my classes from Day 1, instead of picking up and teaching where my Associate Teacher would have left off, in Canada. I now have all the responsibility and flexibility of incorporating my own creativeness into each of my many classes and classrooms. Students here are very often spoken to about the importance of respect to teachers and fellow students, as well as about appearance in the school and community. I find that the schools really focus on ‘getting to know the student’ first, more than throwing a lot of curriculum at them right away. I’ve realized you cannot expect your students to learn from you if they do not respect you and do not think that you care about them and their wellbeing.

I am teaching in a rural community about 3.5 hours away from the city. It is quite interesting to be a part of such a small community setting as everyone quickly gets to know who ‘the Canadians’ are in town. There is no escaping students on a Saturday morning downtown, or anytime after school for that matter. I have been able to meet so many wonderful, helpful, and encouraging people being where I am. No one should be dissatisfied with being placed in a rural school. The towns itself, as small as they are, have quite a lot to offer.

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