Not an Ode to the London Commute

I really am quite lucky
That all I have to do
To get to work is get on a bus
That takes me right through
But the bus, it tries my patience
The speed, the germs, the crew
Of passengers that join me
On this painful daily commute

I’m sorry did you pay for
Two seats, one for your bag
No I didn’t think so
And don’t glare at me when I ask
Oh sorry did you notice
Your legs are in my space
What makes you think you have some unique right to take over this small place
And seriously stop your attitude
There are rules you know, chill out
Try thinking of others on this bus
Who are also suffering no doubt

And seriously aren’t we there yet?
Why are there roadworks every day?
Don’t you dare terminate early bus
Be warned, you’ll see my rage
On twitter at least or in this poem
A Catmac way to rant
Ok it’s fine, I’m there, it’s done
Positive thoughts transplant

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Dear London

Dear London,

I love to travel. To live in different regions, countries, continents. To visit cities, towns, villages. To feel part of communities, neighbourhoods, families and friendship groups that are a result of my taking that step outside the box and meandering through the unknown.

My eyes look out to the world. But in London, I see the eyes of the world.

Dear London,

What do you mean, I don’t sound Scottish?

On the one hand, I feel a stronger sense of Scottish identity here. I am excited when I hear a Scottish accent, feeling an immediate connection with people simply because of our common birthplace and the fact that we’re not currently there.

But then, most nationalities are in London. Does anyone actually care if I’m Scottish? Probably not. I’m just another person. Another person making their commute. Finding their way. Surviving in the city.

Dear London,

You’re never silent. You always have something to say. I don’t usually like people that always have something to say. Sometimes I just want to be. Still. But you’re never still. Sirens. Cheering. Buses. Beeping.

Dear London,

I don’t usually talk like this. But then, I’ve never lived here before. Sure, I’ve visited. Sampled. Pretended. But it’s always been on a temporary basis. Now it’s reality. My reality.

Dear London,

I feel like I’ll never fully know you. I’ll walk. Explore. Test every café I can find. But you’ll always surprise me. I know that in advance. It’s that unknown element that I crave. The wonder. The opportunities. The potential. The inevitable stumble across something magical.

Dear London,

This is the end of my poem.

But it’s not the end of this conversation.

 

i see the eyes of the world

i see the eyes of the world

 

McKechnie’s Farewell

McKechnie’s Farewell – a tribute to my grandparents, Granny (Ann) and Seanair (Neil) McKechnie

I love grandparents. They are the coolest. Every encounter with my own or anyone else’s has always reaffirmed my claim. There’s no end to their unconditional love; they love you for being who you are: their grandchild.

I feel fortunate that I knew both of my mother’s parents. My dad’s had both passed away before he married my mum – if I could choose to meet anyone in the world, it would be them.

My childhood memories are full of time spent with Granny and Seanair. They lived in Dingwall, only 45 minutes away from our home near Inverness, allowing my siblings and me to see them on a regular basis as we grew up. We’d often visit on a Sunday afternoon and Granny would invariably whip up a mammoth spread of sandwiches, sausage rolls, scones and homemade cakes which she’d pass through the hatch from the kitchen to the dining room. I’d set the table, laying out all of the food and setting up the pretty fern green china. I’m pretty sure mum used to always insist such a spread wasn’t necessary. I know she didn’t want Granny to make a fuss but I’m glad she did. It was the best afternoon tea I’ve ever had.

my first christmas - with granny and seanair

my first christmas – with granny and seanair. 1987.

When I was younger, I spent a lot of school holidays with my grandparents. Granny and I would always go down Dingwall High Street and do ‘the messages’ at Somerfield and the other Dingwall hotspots. Inevitably, she would bump into a million people she knew. Dingwall is a small place but I always sensed, even at a young age, that my grandparents were well known in the community. I remember spending time in the Puffin Pool charity shop where Granny volunteered. Every time someone talks about puffins, I think of her. I later discovered that Seanair also played an integral role in the work of the charity, which funds a purpose-built hydrotherapy pool for those less mobile and people recovering from injury.

garden party at cullernie gardens. early 2000s.

garden party at cullernie gardens. 2001.

I remember sitting my prelim exams at school. I am the youngest of three and had to follow on from two academically successful siblings. My test-run of exams didn’t go so well. Feeling like a failure, I found myself sobbing down the phone to Granny. In her gentle and calm nature, she reassured me that I didn’t have to be the same as Kenneth and Anna. What was important was that I did my best. That conversation has stuck with me.

Granny wrote letters to us when we were at university. I loved her handwriting and I loved receiving the sheets of written love, filled with snippets of news from her and Seanair’s lives.

granny and seanair celebrate 55 years of marriage. july 2006.

granny and seanair celebrate 55 years of marriage. july 2006.

It was at the end of my first year of university that Granny passed away. She had lung cancer and over an extended period of time, we watched her health deteriorate. As we mourned, it was Seanair who comforted us. He was our rock. He put on a brave face for all of us.

Seanair is the Gaelic for grandfather. With Gaelic being the first language of not only both my grandparents, but also my father, it seems natural that this was the name we used. The last postcard I sent to Seanair was addressed to ‘Seanair McKechnie’. He was always Seanair to me.

It’s now eight years since Granny passed away. Seanair moved out of the house he and Granny had lived in for 20 years and we waved goodbye to Clunes Villa, the red-fenced house with the doorbell we would always ring, though we always walked straight in, without waiting for an answer. He didn’t move far away though, and we still visited him whenever we came back home from university and later work locations.

Seanair was always an avid Ross County supporter, as is my father, and in turn, my sister and I followed suit, despite the abuse we received from our Inverness Caledonian Thistle-supporting peers. Growing up, I attended a lot of matches either with my family, or with my friends, and every time post match, I visited Seanair. Granny and Seanair’s house was conveniently five minutes walk from the football ground. We’d return from the match and sit glued to the TV, taking in all of the football scores as they came in from all over Scotland.

Seanair was always on the ball. On his 90th birthday, we had a big family celebration and Mum and Helen bought him a laptop – because he was that cool.

90th birthday celebrations at the golf view hotel. november 2009.

90th birthday celebrations at the golf view hotel. november 2009.

He always took a great interest in my siblings and me, as well as my cousins; he knew exactly what was going on in all of our lives. I was so thankful that I was able to visit him both before and after my recent trip to Japan. The weekend before he passed away, he was lying in bed, barely able to keep his eyes open or speak properly, but he managed to ask me how my trip to Japan had been. He was the perfect grandparent right up until the very end.

spot the japanese wannabes

spot the japanese wannabes. april 2011.

Upon hearing I was flying back to the castle later that afternoon, Seanair joked, “Well, I’m in my castle too!”. Of course he wasn’t; he was in the nursing home opposite our house in Nairn, but that was Seanair. He made us laugh. My sister Anna is an accountant in Inverness. On one of her visits to see Seanair at the home, she had told him that she had been working up at the Cairngorms. ‘What were you doing there?’ he asked her, his face dead-pan in sincerity, ‘Counting snowflakes?’

He had the most beautiful smile, one which we treasured more than ever in his final days. He never complained. “I’m 94, I’ve had a long and good life,” he’d told me in a precious hour we had together the day before I travelled to Japan.

seanair was renowned for the twinkle in his eye

seanair was renowned for the twinkle in his eye. november 2012.

Seanair passed away peacefully in the early hours of May 10th, 2014. He was 94 years old. He had seen all of us in the preceding couple of weeks: his two daughters, his two sons-in-law, and his five grandchildren. We were all able to spend quality time with a man whom we dearly loved.

mckechnies, macarthurs and oois. may 2013.

mckechnies, macarthurs and oois. may 2013.

Listening to the tribute that was made to my grandfather at the funeral, I felt an incredible sense of pride as I realised all that Seanair had achieved and contributed in his life. He had fought as part of the 56th London Scottish Field Artillery in South Africa, Egypt and Sicily during the Second World War. He had taught as a teacher and led as a headteacher at various schools around Scotland before later using his experience and expertise on more committees and organisations than I can count, including both the district and regional councils. He had worked hard to promote Gaelic music and culture through his roles in An Comunn Gàidhealach and Fèis Rois, where he was Chairman for twenty years. In 1996, Seanair was awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours list for his services to the community.

When Seanair stood down from his role in Fèis Rois, John Somerville wrote the tune McKechnie’s Farewell. It can be heard through the link below.

I believe my grandparents are together now in heaven. Though I miss them and long for the days when they were here with us, I have nothing but good memories to look back on. To quote my cousin Allan, I rejoice that they are together at home with God where there’s “no more death or mourning or crying or pain”, and where one day I’ll join them.

Dining with Dietary Requirements

It’s a catchy blog title, I know. With dietary requirements becoming more varied and more common, dining out can be difficult. Or is it? Sure there’s usually a vegetarian option. But what about those that are lactose intolerant? Those who have coeliac disease? Those that, for whatever reason, cannot eat dairy or gluten or something else? Can they be catered for?

Gluten Free @ Cafe Victoria

Cafe Victoria, Victorian Market Inverness

After watching my colleague and good friend Carole struggle to find places in which she was able to eat freely of gluten in Brussels, I’ve become a lot more gluten-free conscious. But the UK seems to be meeting the mark, with all of the major supermarkets having entire sections dedicated to catering for gluten- and dairy-free diets.  Walking around Inverness, I’m delighted to see that numerous cafés also cater for these dietary requirements, including Cafe Victoria in the Victorian Market, as pictured above, and my regular haunt, Velocity Cafe and Bicycle Repair Shop at 1 Crown Avenue, which offers a variety of gluten- and dairy-free delights.

In addition, it is also possible to go out for gluten-free and dairy-free afternoon tea in Inverness, as my Inverness pals Megan (who can’t eat dairy) and Lucy and I discovered as part of a wee experiment. After googling ‘afternoon tea Inverness’, I proceeded to e-mail the various hotels in the search results to ask if they were able to provide a gluten-free, a dairy-free and a regular afternoon tea. Several didn’t respond but those that did, saying yes, they could cater for all of us, were Best Western Palace Hotel & Spa on Ness Walk, and our chosen destination, the Drumossie Hotel on Old Edinburgh Road.

But wait, who of the three of you can’t eat gluten? you will have asked, if you were reading this intently. Well, no one is the answer, but for the purpose of the experiment I declared myself to be gluten-free for the day. “Nooooo, you won’t be able to eat the scones with the cream!” American friend Lisa gasped when she heard my plans. The scone being the epitome of the British afternoon tea. I’m not going to lie, this was a concern for me too. Do gluten-free scones exist? I wondered.

Lucy & Megan dining chez Drumossie

Lucy & Megan dining chez Drumossie

Were we impressed? Initially, yes. As soon as we arrived, the waitress confirmed our dietary requirements and shortly after, we were all presented with our individual plates.

In my gluten-free option, there were a variety of gluten-free-bread sandwiches, two macaroons, a flapjack, a bakewell slice, a home-made jammy dodger and a strawberry & cream-topped meringue.

Gluten free

Lucy’s regular afternoon tea was definitely superior (in my gluten-eating opinion) as her plate consisted of the sandwich variety, a gigantic scone complete with bowl of cream, a pancake, the same meringue, a brownie, a piece of shortbread, and a cheeky wee chocolate. No repeats.

Regular afternoon tea

On reflection, Megan’s dairy-free option had the least variety. In addition to sandwiches, she had two macaroons, two jammy dodgers, and two flapjacks.

Dairy free

We all paid £12.95.

Make of that what you will. Under normal non-experimental circumstances, I would have eaten what Lucy had eaten and been quite content. And I agree that it’s great that gluten-free and dairy-free diets are catered for at all. But is it fair that each person paid the same for such varying levels of variety?

On a closing note, we asked for ‘doggy-bag’ style containers for our leftovers (every 4* hotel should have them) and the staff member provided us with some without hesitation. The ambience was also very pleasant with instrumental music playing in the background, and a wedding party arrived mid-afternoon-tea which always makes excellent window entertainment. So all in all, a good afternoon out.

Plus, Lucy gave me her scone to take home. Phew. (Thanks Lucy!!!!!)

Dae ye ken Keith?

Waffling her way back into her Highland blog, Catmac’s adventures continue in… errr… Keith?

Yah man! Dae ye ken Keith?

If you’re not Scottish, let me bring you up to speed. In the bonny wee country that is Scotland, there are numerous towns and villages which one passes through on the train when journeying between the cities. Unless you know someone from one of these towns or villages, the chances are you know absolutely nothing about them. Keith is the prime example. The only thing I could have told you about Keith this time last week was that it was about halfway between Inverness and Aberdeen. A ha! This is exactly why university pal Gill, based in Aberdeen, and myself, based in Inverness/Nairn, decided to descend on Keith’s doorstep one September afternoon.

‘But there’s nothing there’, my parents warned. There must be I thought, consulting my Huntly-born pal Ciorsdan for advice (Huntly being the next-door small-town neighbour of Keith). She told me about a cool café (which is all you need, really) and that was it. Confirmed. See you in Keith, Gill!

cat's journey = green; gill's journey = red

cat’s journey = green; gill’s journey = red

So, what is there to know about Keith? Well whisky fans.  The Strathisla Distillery is located here which is only the oldest working distillery in Scotland, dating all the way back to 1786! That’s pretty cool, eh? So cool I got my photo taken with the car park sign.

what a sign

what a sign

gill at the most photographed distillery in scotland

gill at the most photographed distillery in scotland

And oh yes. It’s only the most photographed distillery in Scotland! Claim. To. Fame.

We continued our wander and arrived at the main A96 road which runs all the way from Inverness to Aberdeen. Just off this road, is the Boogie Woogie café. Oh yes. The name says it all. It’s so cool, it has its own sign!

gill looking suitably boogy-woogy-ish

gill looking suitably boogy-woogy-ish

It’s a lovely wee café with lots of quirky gifts, cards, clothes and jewellery – my kind of shop! It was also heaving mcjeeving, illustrating its popularity both with locals and tourists. I had a scrumptious cheddar and apple ciapini (? what even is that?!) but Gill’s salmon salad was the spectacle worth photographing. Nyum and a half.

oh hello there you beautiful looking salad you

oh hello there you beautiful looking salad you

Gill then had to run back to catch her train to Aberdeen whilst I set about exploring some more. I stumbled across the Keith & Dufftown Railway. This railway line, opened in 1862, was closed down in 1991. However, in the year 2000, the Keith&Dufftown Railway Association began to operate trains again in order to connect Keith with the acclaimed malt whisky capital of the world Dufftown. So now, on the weekends between Good Friday and the end of September, you can go on this 11-mile journey and spend the day in Dufftown. Who knew? Not me. I learned all of this information from the station volunteers who chatted away to me in their ‘ken’ dialect Doric which I strained to understand. One of them presented me with twenty leaflets about the history of the station, just in case one wasn’t enough.

clutching my 20 leaflets

clutching my 20 leaflets

Before catching my own train back, I had a quick nosy down the high street of Keith. As with many high streets in the UK, the high street in Keith is definitely struggling and is likely to be no reflection of the buzzing hub that it once was. The tourist signs are crying out for some love, never mind the empty buildings. Having said that, I always enjoy seeing the fun names that shops across the UK adopt, as well as local family-run businesses which have earned the loyalty of the town’s residents.

decaying tourist signs

decaying tourist signs

i do love a thingymijig

i do love a thingymijig

All that was left to do before running to catch my own train home was to take another photo of Strathisla. It is the most photographed distillery after all.

the bonny strathisla

the bonny strathisla

The Inverness Quirky

Quirky is generally not an adjective I’d use to describe Inverness – the fastest growing city in the UK with a city centre you can cross on foot in approximately 5 minutes. However, as part of my recent internship at Inverness BID, I was sent out to familiarize myself with the city centre and its offerings. As a result, I became, in my opinion, quite the expert on all things Inverness quirky. Check ’em out…

(1) Café Artysans

Artysans is a super-yummy café, located on Strothers Lane opposite TK Maxx. Freshly-made food, extensive menu – I’d recommend anything containing red-onion marmalade – and all part of a great initiative to give young disadvantaged adults a chance to gain work experience. Coffee is roasted on the premises and you can also purchase coffee beans, teapots and more in store. Lunchtime is choc-a-bloc; choose your time wisely!

artysans cafe, inverness

(2) Leakey’s Bookshop

This isn’t new on the scene by any means, but it’s still quirky and still cool, and will never get old!  Leakey’s Bookshop is at the very end of Church Street and is unmissable. What used to be Greyfriars Free Church, has been a bookshop/café/art gallery since 1994, and is currently the biggest second-hand bookshop in Scotland. The old-church building is literally filled to the brim with books; the café serves delish homemade/weather-appropriate goodies; and there is a wide range of art-work displayed on the walls and available for browsing. The perfect place to drift away with a novel and a cuppa tea.

a book or two  a spot of tea  church full of books

(3) The Drawing Room

This new-ish shop to hit the Inverness scene is like the modern-day Pentangle, on a whole new level of cool (and minus the tat): Cath Kidson, Emma Bridgewater, East of India, to name but a few of the brands who feature in this shop in abundance. It’s the ultimate shop for beautiful presents/ways to make your life cuter and despite its small size,you could spend hours investigating all the nooks and crannies. Walk up Stephen’s Brae (Girvans etc) and just keep walking. If you keep going straight, you’ll eventually reach it!

the drawing room, inverness the drawing room, inverness the drawing room, inverness

(4) Velocity Café and Bicycle Workshop

A café and bicycle workshop? I hear you query. Why yes, the most natural combination of all. Located at the top of Stephen’s Brae, this very recent addition to the Inverness scene is the epitome of quirky. Not only a treatastic café, with handy bicycle mechanics on standby, it also offers bicycle-maintenance classes, and you can even hold events here. Not feeling inspired for your own events? Do not fear. There are organised speakers; film nights; I can barely keep up, to be honest. Just go!

IMG_3549       the cyclist's dream   cheeky hot chocolate

My times are in your hands

“What are you worrying about?”, the pastor asked in his sermon, encouraging everyone to write down an answer.

I wrote: “The future; after Japan”.

The preacher went on to explain that in the same way that parents don’t give their children everything they want; God won’t give us everything we ask for – although he does encourage us to ASK. “God has a plan for you; don’t give away your heart to your troubles”, the preacher encouraged in his concluding remarks.

Sometimes it’s difficult to understand God’s plan. I came back to Scotland in July and was back where I’d started pre-Japan:  at home with mum and dad, relying on others and with no obvious way out. Post the excitement of the Olympics/Paralympics and being reunited with my family and friends, I was lost and very frustrated.

In late October, I finally got an invitation to my first interview, despite having submitted numerous applications. The job was in Edinburgh, the home of my Scottish heart, where many of my friends are still hanging out and looking cool so naturally I was really keen to succeed. I had a great interview, was able to answer every question and came out really excited. It was the first “one-job-available” interview I’d ever attended and thus it was my first “one-job-available” rejection when I didn’t get it. It stung.

It had been, in my eyes, the perfect job, in the perfect place, and I thought I’d had the perfect interview. “God has something even better planned for you!”, my friend Miyuki encouraged.

A few days later at church, the minister (no pastors in the UK!) spoke about the metaphors that are used in scripture related to hands. One example particularly struck me from Psalm 31:14:

But I trust in you, O LORD. I say “You are my God”. My times are in your hands.

This verse really encouraged me and I knew I had to commit my worries and my future to God. And so I did. But it didn’t get easier.

I started doing a 2-month internship in Inverness. By this point – November – I was just ecstatic to have any job even if it did mean staying at home. I was still in debt with my parents from Japan, and I knew the only way to clear those debts and actually be able to have any sort of social life was a job which involved living at home. Meanwhile, I was invited to another interview. A similar job to the one I’d applied for in Edinburgh, but this time in Aberdeen.

But apparently my interview skills were going down-hill. The interview didn’t go so well and I didn’t get the job. Two interviews might not sound like much but when it’s taken four months to even get that far, you just want to give up. At this point, I was starting to get angry with God. I blocked him out and refused to pray or communicate with him. On reflection, very melodramatic, and I know I had so much to be thankful for at this stage but it can be so easy to get wrapped up in one’s own problems. My attitude was this: “If you have such great plans for me God – where’s the evidence? Why am I stuck at home, with hardly any friends, and hardly any life?”

I knew I was in the wrong to be angry and the verse I mentioned kept coming back to me. There’s definitely something to be said for memorising verses from scripture.

I had another interview just before Christmas. Post interview I realised I didn’t want the job and came back to God, pleading not to be successful. How thankful I was for that rejection!

The 2-month internship in Inverness turned into a 3-month internship as my employers kept me on for another month. Over Christmas, I developed new grand plans to do work experience and study abroad. For the first time since coming back from Japan, I was seriously excited. Suddenly I realised how glad I was I hadn’t got any of the jobs I’d had interviews for. Recently I had an interview for an internship in Brussels – possibly the coolest job I could ever hope to do. It was another one of those horrible “one-job-available” positions yet this time… I got it! “Really?” I asked the interviewer as she announced the news. Even after I put down the phone, I was convinced she’d phoned the wrong person and any minute later, she was going to phone back and say “Erm..terribly sorry but…”

I hope my explanation of the past few months of my life help you understand what I mean when I say “God has a plan for you”. He has the best plan for you. It may be frustrating; you may have no idea what’s going on but I encourage you to trust him. And please continue to encourage me to do the same.

my times are in your hands

I’ve finished university – what now?

I studied Linguistics at The University of Edinburgh from 2005-2009. When I left, I didn’t have a plan. I knew I didn’t want to pursue linguistics but that was all I knew. I did a four-week CELTA course (see more information below) which qualified me as an English-language teacher and that took me to a summer camp in Hull and then four weeks volunteering in South Africa. These were fantastic experiences but I returned to the UK in the September after I graduated thinking, “what now?”

I know there are a lot of people in this boat, and I wanted to share some of the cool opportunities that I have either discovered or experienced over the past few years. The majority have an international twist but some are more drastic than others!

If you know of any other options, please let me know – not just for my sake, but for the good of future adventurous generations!

  • CELTA
    (Certificate of English Language Teaching to Adults)

If you want to teach English abroad, this is the qualification to get. It’s a 4-week course and it gives you the highest qualification out there for teaching English as a foreign language. I did mine at Basil Paterson College in Edinburgh but you can literally do the course all over the world. It’s intense, and does cost £1000 (eak) but it’s totally worth it and a lot of fun!

http://www.basilpaterson.co.uk/

  • JET Programme
    (Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme)

This is the programme I went on for two years and I couldn’t recommend it more highly. There are two choices: ALT (assistant language teacher) and CIR (coordinator of international relations). As an ALT you will be placed in either one school or a variety of schools (I had 11 in total) ranging from kindergarten age up to adults. As a CIR, you will work in a Japanese office and do translation work/organise events/accompany the mayor to parties! The programme pays for your return flights and visa,  gives you a very generous salary and provides an amazing support network. There really isn’t a catch – it’s the best deal in the world. Note: You don’t have to be able to speak Japanese and you don’t need a teaching qualification.

http://www.jetprogramme.org/

  • Teaching English in China with the British Council

The British Council offers opportunities to teach English as a language assistant in a number of European countries, but also in China. The placement is for one academic year and your flights and accommodation are paid for for the duration of your stay. The salary is low compared to Japan but relative to the local teachers. I applied to this programme as well but in the end decided to go to Japan. Although very different, I’m sure China would have been an incredible experience!

http://www.britishcouncil.org/languageassistants-china.htm

  • The Leonardo Da Vinci Programme

This is relatively new to me but definitely worth investigating. The Leonardo Da Vinci Programme is EU-funded and gives school-leavers and graduates the chance to go to another EU country to gain work experience and improve their language skills. You specify a field of work you’d like experience in and they try to match you up with a suitable company. The programme pays for a two-week language course in addition to your return flights and your accommodation for three months. If you speak another European language, you can possibly go to a country which uses that language but if you only speak English, there are also options available.

http://www.europeantrainingservices.co.uk/en/work_experience_placement_abroad/Leonardo_da_vinci_programme

  • Traineeships with the European Commission

This is a paid 5-month traineeship with the European Commission, starting on either March 1st or October 1st every year. You are required to be a graduate of any subject from any country with proficiency in at least two EU languages. There’s a high chance your job will be in Brussels or Luxembourg and you receive €1000 a month as well as travel reimbursements.

http://ec.europa.eu/stages/index_en.htm

  • Internships with Scotland Europa

Similar to the above scheme, Scotland Europa has a six-month rolling internship programme in Brussels: one which focuses on EU policy and the other in conference management.  Although also only available for graduates, the language-skills are more desired than necessary. Again, you receive €1000 a month along with travel reimbursements.

http://www.sdi.co.uk/scotland-europa/about-scotland-europa/employment-opportunities.aspx

  • Masters EU portal

Thinking of doing a masters? I kid you not, many EU countries offer their masters courses for a very small sum or better yet – free. It’s never too late to gain international experience and if there’s something you really want to do, it’s definitely worth consideration.

http://www.mastersportal.eu/

  • Adopt an Intern

This is a bit closer to (my)home in that it is a Scottish organisation which provides internships for graduates looking for work experience. I have just completed a three month internship as an information sourcing intern through this scheme. I was on minimum wage but I was able to live at home in Inverness whilst doing it which meant I was able to save money. They have new internships advertised on the website every week so it’s worth keeping an eye on. They also provide opportunities to join random courses and random networking events.

http://www.adoptanintern.org.uk/adopt-an-intern.html

  • Eures

This is no ordinary job portal; this is a EUROPEAN job portal. All of the EU member states plus Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland have joined forces to create one beautiful hub of potential employment! Thanks to James Gribben, the fountain of all EU knowledge, for yet another EU-related link!

http://ec.europa.eu/eures/main.jsp?acro=eures&lang=en&catId=1&parentId=0