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Canberra to Cambridge

18/02/15

Kaitlin has recently arrived in the UK and is keen to share her experiences and her expectations of moving here. We wonder if it has matched up? 

A little over a year ago, I was having coffee in Canberra, Australia with a uni friend when the idea of moving overseas came into the conversation. We both loved the idea of moving to England. The fact that we were both one year away from graduating as secondary school teachers – and the knowledge that teachers were needed desperately in England – were both incentives for us to make the decision to move.

After attending a Protocol Education meeting in Canberra, our hearts were set on living in Cambridge and creating a new life for a year or two. As an English and history teacher, the idea of living in the country of Shakespeare and Jane Austen was truly magical! We did all the usual preparation for a big move – visa applications, police checks – before leaving Australia on Sunday 7 December, 2014 for the adventure of a life time.

We spent four days in Bangkok, Thailand on the way over which was lovely and relaxing – although not nearly enough time to get proper tans before arriving in ‘sunny’ England! Those concerns were soon overcome by our excitement at arriving in our new home city. Cambridge surpassed even our wildest dreams; the scenery is stunning, the people are friendly, and it has all the benefits of a modern city (including a great public transport system) whilst still retaining the lovely old buildings and ye olde feel of a small village.

Our first meeting with the Cambridge Protocol Education team was great. We felt instantly welcomed into the tight-knit Protocol Education family. Setting up a bank account and finding a house to rent were a different story. In order to get a bank account, you need a UK address. In order to rent a property, you need a UK bank account. It is Cambridge’s Catch 22! Eventually, in order to get a property we had to pay three months’ rent in advance and – because of issues with the bank – in cash. Despite all of the obstacles, we ended up getting a beautiful, two-bedroom place close to the city just in time for Christmas.

We had our first day of teaching on Monday 12 January. Understandably for any people in a new job, we were nervous. But nervous does not even begin to describe the feeling of starting a new job, in a new country, with secondary schoolers! Yet, despite a few little bumps and bruises in the first week (including me leaving my brand new iPad – a graduation gift from my parents – on a public bus) we have both thoroughly enjoyed our experiences so far.

Yes, waking up in the dark at 6am is unnatural. Yes, riding a bike in icy weather is bordering on torture. Yes, some of our students could quite possibly be featured in the TV show ‘Educating Essex’. But the staff members are so friendly and helpful, the students can be very funny and endearing, and I feel as though my classroom management skills have improved. Not to mention I already have enough crazy stories to write a 500 page book!

I am currently teaching science which – given I have no experience in the field – seems like utter madness but learning about astrology and ecosystems and water borne diseases is actually rather fascinating. Our trip from Canberra to Cambridge so far as been absolutely ‘brilliant’ (insert English accent here). 

We look forward to Kaitlin's next blog. Are you looking to share your teaching experiences in a blog? Why not join our blogging team? Contact Megan for more information. 

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