It was around the end of 2010 that I began to panic about what I was going to do after university. When I started my History degree in 2007 I was focused on an academic career, I had it all figured out. I would do my undergraduate at Dundee then move to somewhere, at the time Trinity College Dublin was the hope, to pursue a masters and then phd. But by the time I had reached fourth year, the fourth year of not only my degree but also of being poorer than the guy begging for money outside my crappy little flat, I had decided that enough was enough. It was time to get a job and earn some money.
My flatmate was very much of the same opinion so we both embarked on what was to become a soul destroying search for a faceless ‘graduate scheme’. You see, the problem with these schemes was not the money – which is rather good – it was not that on the whole they required us to move out of Scotland, it was not even that we were unmotivated. No, the problem was that neither of us were remotely interested in the jobs or companies we were applying for. To be honest, most of the time we had no idea what we were actually applying for. In one instance my flatmate attended an interview in Derby and when he received feedback he was told that he had aced the assesment centre. However, it would have helped if he knew what industry the company was part of.
After a moment of epiphany I came full circle. I decided that I would pursue an academic career and take the years of poverty that would come as part and parcel. The new problem was where to study a masters. I know my family could have helped out with postgraduate fees in Scotland, but I didn’t really want to put them in that position. So I decided to look beyond the UK. At first I was fairly set on applying to universities in the Netherlands. Although not free, the fees which the Dutch universities charge are certainly more manageable than the UK institution’s fee structure.
One evening my flatmate – I think since he has appeared so often I should name him: Gary – observed that Swedish women were not harsh on the eyes. We joked about it and I, still joking, googled Swedish universities. Up popped Uppsala – I have to admit I’d never heard of it. As I looked through the courses taught in english I couldn’t believe what I was reading. They offered a course called ‘Early Modern Northern European Studies’. A glance at the syllabus proved that if I was to design a course to fit my academic interests, well, this would be it.
I did a little research about Uppsala and discovered that it was a fairly impressive instituion. I wasn’t sure what to expect of the application procedure and I had no idea what my chances would be. I decided that I may as well apply, what was the harm?
Anyway, the fact I’m writing this you have probably guessed that I got in. I don’t want to go overkill with this post so I’ll leave it there. There’s a lot more to write about; from the appallingly bizarre centralised application procedure, to visiting Uppsala in April and feeling like I had been transported back to the middle of January. But I’ll leave these rants for another time.
Over the next two years I’ll be updating this blog weekly, so if you’re interested in the fortunes of a Scot in Sweden, then keep checking back.