30 June 2015

Working As An Expat; The Process

It's been almost a year since we've moved to London.
Wait .. a year??
Whoever said time flies, THEY MEANT IT.

As we're finishing up our degrees and things,
the real grit of why we moved here is surfacing more and more.
And that reason is to stay here for good.

It may be needless to say, but as an immigrant, it's pretty difficult to secure yourself here.
The next four months are crucial, and also completely up in the air.

I've had a plan and process of how I was to go about this,
and if anyone else is in, or will be in, the same situation in the future,
I'm hoping this may help a bit.

Finding Work - Any Work
With the visa that I am under right now, which is a Tier 4 Student,
there are guidelines about work.
You are allowed to work a certain amount of hours a week for a certain amount of pay.
It's not much, but it's enough to keep you afloat finance-wise.

In order to maintain a steady income, finding the right job that could be flexible around my studies was key.
I did a pretty big search for job vacancies on multiple different sites.
There are multiple different outlets you can use, and a great example to take a look at is City Calling.
This is one of my favorite, as it's both easy and convenient, and they are really great about matching you with the jobs that fit what you are looking for - check them out here!

Internships - Experience - ANYTHING
This has been the most important part of my time here.
Finding internships is incredible and beneficial for so many reasons.
Work experience builds up your CV, shows you've got some time in the UK business world behind you,
and on top of this, it's connections - and we all know the only thing that matters these days are who you know...
I've been doing this for both pay and voluntary - it's crucial to get out there and work around the areas that you want your career in.
And if you can make this happen interlinked with the first step of getting an income - GO YOU!
Two birds with one stone, more time for one job rather than less time balancing two.
There's not much more you can ask for.

Apply Apply Apply
This is where I am now.
I'm still working towards internships and work experience,
but I'm moving into needing to look and apply for full-time, salaried positions - which is both exciting and absolutely terrifying.

My advice - attack everything and everyone.
I know myself and what I'm capable of, and the confidence I have in what I can do is great.
In order to secure a job here as an expat, one guideline with a visa is that you have to be a better worker than a UK citizen.
And I am 110% percent sure that I would be the best addition to any company here - and I make that known.

It's tough, but knowing what you are working toward makes it more motivating than ever. 
Talk to everyone you meet, every company you find, every job you see open.
For the 250 ignored emails, rejected applications, and failed interviews,
you may just get 1 offer.
But that one job offer - that's exactly what I came for.

Moving abroad, getting your dream career, backpacking the world, whatever it may be;
ultimately doing what you want - it's hard work
It will be the hardest thing you ever do in your life.
But it's those things that seem near impossible that become not only a literal dream come true,
but the most amazing, thrilling, insane and unpredictable ride you could EVER imagine.

27 June 2015

Don't Forget The Ones That Love You

I've spent the last two weeks in the states visiting family in Florida and friends in Kentucky.
After a crazy travel debacle, I made it back to London on Monday morning,
and white the happiness I feel to be back in the UK is not at all shocking,
having a break home couldn't have came at a better time.

I had this terrible anxiety the weeks before my trip.
Every time I have left London in the past years, it had always been a one-way flight
and the future of when I would be back in the city was unknown.
I was having of a Pavlovian reaction,
feeling like I had to do everything in the world before I got on that plane.
Heather literally had to sit me down and tell me, 'Caity. YOU ARE COMING BACK.'

And, of course, I did come back.
It's a great problem to have, loving a place so much that you don't want to leave.
But going home at this particular time was the best thing I could have done.

I have lived in London for almost a year now.
And while I love it - absolutely, with all my heart, love it -
it is one of the most stressful and difficult things I've ever done in my life.
The stress and anxiety of taking that jump and making your life how you want it is terrifying,
and stressful - did I already mention that?

Two weeks away gave me that little break to clear my head,
and see the ones who love and support me most in this crazy ride.

To have these dreams that may seem irrational or impractical to some,
and have people that believe in me that I can make it happen?
And not only that - but allow me to go off and do the things I need,
then welcome me home, even if only temporary, with open arms as if I never left.
I'm a very, very lucky girl.

I'm all for making your dreams come true;
in fact, I annoyingly URGE you to go out and do that.

But don't forget about the ones you left behind.
Because they are the reason why you're able to do this.
Without my parents raising me to go for what I believe in,
or the friends who still manage to talk to me daily after not seeing me for months/years at a time,
without any of these folks who support what I do, who tell me how proud they are of what I am doing,
there is no way in hell I would be where I am.

So this post is a big thank you to them,
and a reminder to you;
don't forget about the ones that love you.

Whether things work out the way I've planned,
or take a completely different turn from this,
they are ALWAYS there to cheer me on.

17 June 2015


I've been consistently in the air possibly as much as I've been on the ground in the past week.
Visiting family and old friends, but coming back to lovely London this weekend.
So while I'm gone, I'm giving you FREE STUFF!
....that is, if you win :D
 Good luck!
In the mood for a blog makeover? This month, you have another chance to win a free customized theme from The Lady Errant! Last month's winner was Tyler from An Aspiring Heroine - check out her new look!

The prize
1 free customized theme for self-hosted WP sites from the shop (up to $80 value). Includes favicon, custom fonts/colors/formatting, and 1 coding add-on (such as a custom homepage). 

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09 June 2015

Working Abroad & How You Can Make It Happen

I've been very much in 'London-mode,' as I've been living here for almost ten months now.
But I wanted to back to the expat-topic a bit and talk about my time being here in regards to working.

While I'm still in London for university, it's been much different than my last time here.
I'm able to work now - let me rephrase that;
I NEED to work here now because I need to pay rent - also different from my previous stay.
I've had a few jobs here now; which I think has been good. I can broaden where my experiences lay and get more of a feel for what it is like to work in the city.

If you aren't going into university like I did,
there are still different ways you can still make these dreams happen.
Before I decided on getting my degree, I had looked into a program called BUNAC.
This company assists in finding internships and work in the UK & Ireland for a set period of time.
It's a great way to get over into the country, make some money while you are there, and connect with people that may be the ones to help you with your career in the long run.

From my experience and sharing it with local friends and others who want to go out and explore the world,
The US is a great place to work as well.  As an born and raised American, I know the benefits and impacts working within the country can have on students from outside countries.
And luckily, there are outlets that offer assistance for that too.
The International Student Company (The ISC) specializes in assisting qualified students & young professionals
from all over the world in finding work in the United States.
All of these positions are either paid internships or entry-level work, so no worries about making an income; you will be paid.

Similar to the programs I considered, The ISC they help with visa paperwork, pre-departure & arrival orientations, as well as on-going support throughout your stay.
On top of this, they offer guidance and advice in your CV & resumes to make sure you land that dream role.

I can't tell you how grateful I was to have someone there for me on my first time abroad
when I had, to put it lightly, absolutely no idea what in the hell was going on.
I still had the freedom of feeling independent in the city, but if there was ever a problem
or something that I needed, I always had that there for me.

On top of it all, these programs are just a fantastic way to get abroad.
If you have never studied or traveled like I have, and found that love for exploring the world,
The ISC is a way to give you that insight and let you experience something that you never have before.
Get a taste of someone else's world, understand culture outside your own.
It's necessary. Believe me.

Check out The International Student Company on Facebook here, or at their website here!

*This post was sponsored by The International Student Company,
but I wouldn't write about anything I didn't feel dearly about.
And exploring the world is definitely something that I do! :D 

02 June 2015


If you follow anything of mine, I won't have to explain much about my week, as I'm sure you've already seen.

After I finished up my finals, Heather and I had the entire next week (last week) booked up with just about everything that I am in love with.
You should already know this by now too. It's Paul McCartney and Liverpool.

Paul started his European tour last weekend, and Heather and I had booked tickets to see him on Saturday.
It was an amazing show, despite being so far away from the stage -
a much different view than the last time I saw him!

Even so, seeing Paul from anywhere is always a highlight in my life.
After this show, we didn't have our next show booked until the coming Thursday,
where we would be seeing Paul again in Liverpool.
THIS was the show I was dying for.
Seeing a Beatle in his hometown - and that hometown being my favorite place in the world?

BUT - before that even happened,
those crazy Beatles vibes that keep coming around appeared again,
and Heather and I were off on a spur-of-the-moment trip to Birmingham
where a friend of ours had left guest passes and floor seats waiting for us.
My mind is still blown about this, and I am pretty sure I owe him my life for these.

We went to a pre-show reception, where we met a few of the band mates, their friends & family,
and it was just insane. I felt like a fly on the wall to the in crowd. And I was loving it more than ever.

The show was incredible - we happened to be in the 12th row
and I danced so much I was surprised my legs didn't buckle in by the end of it.

This is Abe Laboriel Jr., who plays the drums for Paul.

And the best part? The next day we were headed on a train to Liverpool to see him AGAIN!
Call me crazy - I will probably agree.

The show in Liverpool was a special one.
This was where Paul was brought up, as well as the beginnings of The Beatles.
You could tell how happy he was to be home, and he was rocking so hard the entire time,
and yes - we were rocking right with him!

After the show we headed down to Mathew Street - or as I like to call it; home.
We jumped down into the Cavern and the other bars around,
where we ended up meeting the family of Pete Best
who you may know as the guy who got kicked out of The Beatles.

The next day we headed outside of the City Centre,
which was great because we rarely walk around further what's around Mathew Street.

We went out to John Lennon's house and Strawberry Fields,
found a cute cafe with the sweetest owners,
and then headed over to St. Peter's Church for a pretty legendary show.

The show was put on by The Quarrymen,
and if you haven't heard of them - they are the first band that John Lennon started back in 1956.
The guys that we saw were the actual Quarrymen; meaning, the guys that were with John at that time.
St. Peter's Church Hall is also the building where Paul met John for the first time, auditioned, and was accepted into the band.

So here we are - in the building where the beginning of just about everything happened,
with the very guys who were witnesses to it.
My mind was blown.
My mind is STILL blown.

That's John Lennon in the center of that first picture.
The guys surrounding him are the ones below.
Literally standing in the spot where John Lennon met Paul McCartney for the first time.
I will never be able to fully grasp this.

After The Quarrymen's show, we headed back to Mathew Street for some more fun.
We met up with some friends and hung out with them for the night,
and this continued on through the weekend.

My ears are muffed, my body is sore, my photos are blurry,
but it was a filled with my favorite music and my favorite people,
so I'm a very happy gal.

Seeing Paul McCartney three times, a show from The Quarrymen, and a weekend in Liverpool?
I'd say it was definitely a week for the books.
And I stand by my continuous statement - Liverpool is the greatest city in the world.



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