Australian exchange teacher Megan Wilson donned the flag of her home country for Poplar Ridge Elementary School’s Winterfest last Thursday.

Australian exchange teacher Megan Wilson donned the flag of her home country for Poplar Ridge Elementary School’s Winterfest last Thursday.

Adapting to weather one of biggest changes for Australian exchange teacher

Arriving in Canada for the start of a 12-month teacher exchange, Megan Wilson found the biggest adjustments to Canadian life lay outside

Arriving in Canada for the start of a 12-month teacher exchange, Megan Wilson found the biggest adjustments to Canadian life lay outside the classroom rather than in it.

“Basically, kids are kids,” said the Poplar Ridge Elementary School Grade 1 teacher, who hails from Inverell, Australia.

She added that Poplar Ridge is smaller than her school back home, and noted that there are a number of “slight differences” between teaching in the two countries.

Overall, however, the transition has been relatively seamless.

“The biggest difference is dressing kids to go outside and eating your lunches and food inside,” she said. “All our stuff we eat outside for everything. The most that we have to cope with is taking shoes off on a rainy day.”

Wilson arrived in the country at the end of January, while Suzanne Thibault went the other way, and now teaches Wilson’s Grade 2 class in Australia.

Wilson has had to quickly adapt to cold weather, and said one of the biggest learning curves she’s encountered so far is learning to live with snow.

“When I left Australia, we were having heatwaves. It was nearly 50 when we were in minus 30.

“(Snow) is a real novelty at the moment, it’s a bit exciting. About two weeks ago, it started to all melt away, and I was a bit sad.”

Wilson’s son and one of her two daughters also made the trip, and live with her in Sylvan Lake.

While her son attends school in town, her daughter will return to Australia at the end of the month to continue post-secondary studies.

Although she’s still adjusting to some aspects of Canadian life, she’s loved her time here so far, and is excited about the next 10 months.

“It’s a great little school,” she said. “I’ve got a fantastic class (with) great parents. I’m really enjoying it.”