“Why not work in Sweden ? You don’t even need to speak the language, as most of our clients and all of our staff are speaking English !”
I noticed this advert in the Vet Record last summer just after my return from Canada and it appealed to me right away: not only had I worked in Scandinavia previously (before coming to England), I also speak Norwegian (which is not so far away from Swedish) and I have always had a longing for the Nordic Countries. Going to Sweden would not only give me an insight in veterinary medicine in another country, it would also pay the bills and it would give me a chance for endless cross country skiing (on snow !) while I was not working ……
Consider this, it didn’t take me long to put a CV together (something I hadn’t done for over two decades !!) and to get in touch with Hugo, the author of the advert. I explained my personal and professional background and closed my e-mail with : ” …. send me as far North as you like, as long as there is snow!”
A lively e-mail transfer followed and once we had identified January as the earliest time I could go, Hugo had found me a place in Falun, 150 km North-West of Stockholm. Falun is not only a very famous mining town, it is also the “Heart of Nordic Skiing” in Sweden, being the location of both the national Nordic Skiing stadium and the Nordic Skiing museum.
For many years Falun has been the host of World Cup skiing events and the world’s largest cross country skiing race is held annually, just around the corner, between Saelen and Mora. I couldn’t have asked for a better choice !
The clinic I was supposed to work at, was a completely different set up from my own place in Virginia Water – rather than just a couple of vets and a handful of (brilliant) support staff, this clinic is the working place of over 100 professionals, serving the whole region between Stockholm and the Norwegian border in the West. So rather than seeing a case through from the first consultation until discharge, I would have to work in a team, doing only a part of the treatment and as a locum I would be a very junior member of this team, without a track record, solely depending on my skills.
Once my vehicle was road worthy again, I took the motorway North and after a brief stop at some old friends near Gothemburg, I arrived at the virtually deserted Vandrehem in Falun, just in time for the New Year fireworks, which I enjoyed with a nice bottle of red and the unexpected company of a somewhat aged punk rock musician who was the only other resident.
What a start to 2020 !