Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Une année au Québec

As my aunt once said, 'The fold of the atlas is always right on the part that you want to look at'.

I'm going to officially let the cat out of the bag: I will be spending this year in the province of Quebec, working as an English Language Assistant (ELA) in a secondary school! I'm leaving in just a few weeks.

I had always planned on moving to Germany after graduation, and that is still definitely a long-term goal of mine. But I can't deny that after I visited Montreal and Quebec City last summer (which you can read about here and here), I was itching to go back. The trip had rejuvenated my interest in French in huge amounts. I also really, really enjoyed my time as an ELA last year, so combining these two elements felt like a natural progression. The prospect of it all was what helped me through these past few months.

The journey to this point, however, has been far from straightforward. It all began with the £3 deducted from my university computer account to print off my initial application, after which I was invited to an interview with the British Council in London. I was successful, and so the next step was to apply for a Canadian work permit. This involved a lot of bureaucracy and paperwork, as well as paying top dollar for a medical exam. So I guess you could call it a test of your passion to work in Canada. In the meantime, the school I'd be working in got into contact with me, so I was able to ask them questions and research the local area.
As I waited for the medical results to be approved by the Canadian government, I got quite stressed out, as this was the last step and also the only thing stopping me from booking my flight while prices were low: we had been advised to hold off from doing so until the work permit was confirmed. At last, five weeks after my results were sent off, I received the all-important email clearing me as a temporary worker in Canada! As you can gather, there was so much to go through, and that's why I avoided announcing it until absolutely everything was sorted out.

I know how fortunate I am to have something lined up immediately after graduating, and I intend to put my all into it (wow, I sound like a candidate on The Apprentice). The first time I was an ELA, I realised that I would definitely like to get into teaching English as a second language for a while after university. In Austria, I came to recognise some of my strengths in that regard, but also some weaknesses, which I would like an opportunity to build upon. And I'm absolutely delighted to be getting that opportunity not only for one year as opposed to one semester, but also in a unique and fascinating part of the world that relatively few Brits go to.

I've thought about it, and I have decided not to keep a separate blog to document my time in Quebec. For one thing, I know that people specifically interested in that may not really care about my general life blogging. But maintaining two separate blogs that will overlap anyway seems like a job for people with too much time on their hands. I want this year to be all about throwing myself out there and experiencing everything.
Instead, I want to expand on this blog, so I'll be giving it a bit of an overhaul. To quote Ron Swanson, 'Never half-ass two things, whole-ass one thing'. Words to live by.