Work Visa Woes

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Written by  January 26, 2016

Sydney's moving to Scotland to work abroad. There's just one problem—she can't find a job.

Overwhelmed. Frustrated. Another dead-end.

I knew it wasn’t going to be easy; it was going to take work, effort, diligence, persistence and motivation. Somehow you always forget how painful that actually is; those words sound so good when said aloud.

The real definition of searching for a needle in a haystack is attempting to find a company to sponsor a work visa in Europe—especially for a recent American graduate without any significant work experience. Just let me work in Aberdeen, Scotland, the oil-capital of Europe and home of Angus Beef.

My inspiring boyfriend is beginning his path for his Master's of Physical Therapy at Robert Gordon University this January. As my immediate goals include continuing to explore, growing personally and trying to determine my life purpose, moving to Scotland sounds ideal.

The real definition of searching for a needle in a haystack is attempting to find a company to sponsor a work visa in Europe—especially for a recent graduate without any work experience.

Each day, I sift through the list of UK companies capable of sponsoring visas, scroll until finding one based in Aberdeen, Scotland, research the company, and apply for available jobs (if any). If the company is especially interesting I’ll send a resume asking for a paid internship.

Guess how many replies? Zero.

Only the annoying computer-generated ones saying, “Thank you for applying, if you do not hear from us within four weeks assume you were unsuccessful.” Could you at least email me a rejection?

In case my odds weren’t slim enough, there are more variables to add to the delicate equation: I graduated in biochemistry and am looking for experience in oil, pharmacy, research, distillation—any related field! Would taking a position completely unrelated to my degree be a true step forward? The aim is to acquire career-building experience while immersing myself into a unique culture. I hope that doesn’t just exist in a dream world.

Canadians get a special visa where they can live and work in the UK for two years. If only I was born just one country to the north.

However at the core, it really is an exciting process. The thought of moving my life across the oceans buoys me, an incredible event to look forward to.

I will move to Aberdeen, regardless of the end-result of this terrifying process. That makes it all a bit easier to swallow. Worst-case scenario, I enter with a tourist visa and march doorstep-to-doorstep with a loud knock and stack full of resumes. I can only hope literally putting my foot in the door will increase my odds.

But I like things organized and in the correct boxes; labelled, colour-coded and facing the same way. Therefore I am quite proud of myself, this invigorating willingness to take the plunge into the unknown without my usual outlined and highlighted plans.

Life is what you choose to make of it. You always have options; sometimes they just might not be obvious. Jumping into medical or graduate school (as it seems everyone is doing) is not what I want. All I know is I need to push my boundaries while figuring out a bit more of what drives me, fulfils me and creates a happy and whole life.

So here’s to the rewards of hard work, persistence and the fearlessness to take your life course into your own shaky hands.

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Published in Work Abroad Blogs
Sydney Paulsen

Sydney Paulsen, an adventurous biochemistry graduate, is always looking to push her comfort zone. After returning from studying abroad in Buenos Aires, she has moved with her boyfriend to Aberdeen, Scotland to keep figuring out this thing called life.

Website: siempresydney.wordpress.com

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