It was my last day of work as an English monitor today, and I couldn't be happier.
Okay, so being an English monitor is actually a pretty great job. Go in, do activities with the students, and take no responsibility for anything. For the majority of people who work as monitors, this is a great deal. And you get a chance to experience life in another part of Canada, and improve your other official language. The pay is pretty good, and the benefits aren't bad (i.e. not having to deal with disciplining students, not having to deal with administration, not having to deal with parents, not having to be at school when there are no students, free trip to Québec City for "training", money for your flights home, etc.). And then there's all the other people who find themselves in the same situation, living away from home in a second language and looking to speak their mother tongue.
I feel almost like I didn't experience the intended purpose of the program. I already lived in Québec when I applied for the job, and will continue living here now that my contract is finished. I have a lovely apartment, a boyfriend, and a (small, too small for my liking) social network here, and my French was pretty good even before I started the job. So I didn't go out of my way to get to know my students, the teachers at the school, the community. I don't even live in the community where I was working*, so I didn't spend a lot of extra time there. Which is hugely different from my experience in Japan, where I may not have gotten to know my students either (what can I say -- I'm lazy, and they all had funny names, were they French or Japanese), but I became much more a part of my community. Let's put it this way -- there was not send-off for me today, and nobody cried.
So somewhere between the differences in culture, linguistics, and my personal living situation, I didn't have quite the same Odyssey as other participants on the program. But then again, I don't think I went in with the same expectations. I think I'll miss the steady paycheque most of all.
*This made it awkward to prepare a guide for whoever takes over my position next year. No, I'm sorry, I can't give you practical ideas about community activities you could join during the year.