Thursday, December 18, 2014

What to do after Graduation? - My Time in Scotland

Christmas Holidays are here and Students across the country are headed home for a well deserved break. 

For many many undergraduate students, they're now at the point of trying to figure out, what to do next. Do you go back to school? Do you throw your hat into the job application ring? Do you travel?

When I was finishing up my undergrad, I found myself asking the same questions. I eventually decided on more school, but I wasn't sure what to do in the 4 months I had between my undergrad and post grad education.

Then one night, at a party, a friend of mine from grade school said "you know what we should do? Move to the UK".

The comment was off the cuff, not 100% serious, and honestly, fuelled by alcohol. But 2 months later, we were winging our way to London, UK visas in hand, and only a vague plan to speak of. We hung around London, then took off to Belfast for a week, before finally settling in Edinburgh.

On top of Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh

This experience was incredible, it shaped me as a person more than anything else I've done. It was scary and overwhelming, it was a lot of work, it was at times lonely, but I couldn't recommend it more, because more than anything it was FUN.

Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland

Nowhere is as Green as Northern Ireland

If you think you might want to go abroad, consider applying for a work visa! There are fabulous services that help you through the process, and set you up with all the right paperwork, contacts when you land, and reputable hostels to get you started.

One such company is SWAP (this is who I used). The process of getting my UK visa was incredibly streamlined. It only took 6 weeks and with little hassle.

Here are some of the benefits of WORKING abroad vs. just travelling:

1) Looks great on a resume! You're still bumming around Europe, but you're also showing that you're motivated, organized and ready to take on a challenge

No need to add on your resume that you 
behave badly in museums...

2) A hub from which to travel. It was really great when I popped down to London for the weekend, or took off to France for the week, that I could just leave most of my stuff at my rented flat. Plus you can do all the laundry you want when you get back!

A Weekend in Paris

A Week in the South of France - Hiking AGAIN

3) Comforts of home. When you backpack, you spend most of your time eating out, being out, going out. If you're gone for 3-4 months (or longer!) it's really nice to be able to make dinner and curl up in your own bed, in your own room, and watch a movie. It's not why you're abroad, but you're crazy if you think you aren't going to have "those days"

4) Money Money Money! When I came back to Canada, I came back WITH money. Actually I came back with more money than I left with when I factored in the exchange! This is not something you will experience with back packing.

The Pub where I worked - Deacon Brodie's Tavern

5) A New City to Call Home. I miss Edinburgh every day. It's my second home in a way that my University town never was. I'd jump like a shot to get back there because it was a city I made mine. The connections with people, parks, restaurants, even just the atmosphere are things that you can miss when you're just passing through on the way to your next city.

What are your plans for after University? Or, if you're well past it like me, what did you do when you graduated? I'd love to know in the comments below!

Happy Travels :)