There are many challenges working internationally – staying healthy, eating sometimes unrecognizable foods, not getting lost while navigating a city foreign to you – but perhaps the greatest challenge is dealing with jet lag.
There is a twelve or thirteen hour time difference between Toronto and most cities in Asia and the travel time can be anywhere up to eighteen hours in the air. You follow the sun as you fly west. It is still shining when you arrive at your destination but thanks to the mystery of the international dateline it is the next day. “I got out of bed Tuesday morning in Canada and now it’s Wednesday afternoon! Whatever happened to Tuesday?”
You collect your luggage at the airport, get your passport stamped, take the express train into the city, transfer to the correct subway line (you hope), wander in a bit of a daze until you spot your hotel, and, much to your relief find they have your room reservation. “I’ve made it,” you say to yourself. Now a nice meal, a good eight hours sleep, and I’ll be ready to hit the ground running tomorrow morning. But maybe I’ll just rest my eyes for a few minutes before I head out to find a restaurant. The bed looks so inviting….
Your eyes blink open and the bedside clock says it’s 3:00 a.m. Which is 3:00 p.m. back home. You watch the international TV news, try reading the book you brought, flip through the tourism information in the hotel room. But nothing helps to bring back sleep. Your body says it’s mid-afternoon and you should be up and about. You think you can tough it out through your first full day in this exciting, bustling city. But by mid-afternoon, the middle of the night back home, your body says it’s time to sleep.
And so it goes for too many nights to count. When all your friends back home are envious of the adventures you must be experiencing and the glamour of international travel, all you want is a good night’s sleep.
“I really enjoy the experiences gained in working within the CIS program. The students we teach expand our understandings of our own pedagogy, in working with a cultural background so distinct from our own."
“The program offers students an unforgettable opportunity to see a different part of the world, while developing their English language skills, as they experience Canadian culture through classroom activities, excursions, and interactions with their homestay families.”
"It is very rewarding for me, as an educator, to witness the growth in the students’ language skills over a short intensive period of time. The base of vocabulary they arrive to Canada with serves as a good testament to their English training in their own school system."
"I think the activities that are embedded within the program provide the students a solid means of showing much of the Canadian lifestyle, in terms of day-to-day recreation, but also other features that require the use of larger spaces, that are not as prevalent in their home country. These, in combination with the homestay experiences and dietary differences from home, provide the students with a truly well rounded experience."