After gaining permission from administration and filling out plenty of paperwork, Jason Kerluck and his wife made their three choices of places they would like to go for his teacher exchange.
“We submitted and we waited,” said Kerluck. Their choices consisted of two spots on the East coast of Australia and also one on the West coast. Their second choice of Western Australia is where they were being matched up with.
That was over a year ago, and now Kerluck and his family have returned to Campbell River.
The family stayed in the coastal city of Geraldton which is about five hours North of the capital of Western Australia, Perth.
The city has a population of 40 000 people.
“It’s right on the water… it’s got rural sections and it’s got a main town area,” Kerluck said.
He also added that his family was happy to be in a town right on the beach.
As part of the exchange, Kerluck took over as a P.E. teacher at Nagle Catholic College.
The private school is larger than Carihi with a population of around 1,200 students from grades 7 to 12 compared to Carihi’s population of 850 students from grades 9 to 12.
Kerluck had his work cut out for him as far as remembering names goes.
“I had 13 different classes over there,” he said.
On one occasion Kerluck got up and close with marine life while taking his outdoor ed class swimming.
“We swam with a four and a half metre wide manta ray, [saw] stingrays in the water and a lot of really neat-looking tropical fish,” Kerluck said.
Outside of school, Kerluck along with his wife and two young sons ages 7 and 10 travelled up and down the Western Australian coast exploring reefs, hiking, going swimming and surfing waves.
“When you go somewhere like that with your family, it kind of tightens your family… [because] you’re experiencing new things together,” Kerluck said.
In Kerluck’s leisure time, he played Australian football, commonly known as “footy” for about six months. In Geraldton there are eight teams and Kerluck played for the Bulldogs.
Kerluck found footy to be a very welcoming sport with very supportive teammates.
“[It was] easy to come out and play and feel good about it.”
Kerluck is settling back into Carihi with the start of a new semester.
He tells his students many stories and shows dozens of pictures of his experiences in the land down under.
He also has a map of Western Australia for easy reference and a board dedicated to Australian slang and sayings in the classroom.