WI ma graduation less than sax month awa, ma thochts, evidently, hiv turned tae fit Ah’m gaun tae dae and far Ah’m gaun tae be for the rest o ma life. As a student o French an Hispanic leid an cultur, aire was aye gaun tae be the chunce that Ah’d run aff tae ane o the kintras that Ah’d spent five ‘ear devotit tae lairnin aboot. But, it’s nae me alain in sic a position. In 2019 thoosands o Scottish students will graduate an enter the warld o wark. Far though, is the question. Mair an mair Ah’m bein stamagastert bi foo mony fowk (ootwi furrin leids students) are seriously considerin heidin aff tae unkent territories.

It’s nae that young graduates movin owerseas is somethin that we need tae put an end tae; it is nithin short o wondirous that the citizens o oor nation are kent warld-wide for the high quality o skills that they bring tae the table. Scots have aye traivelt tae wark, an aye will. Nae only that, but bidin an warkin in a furrin kintra, for a ‘ear, or even anely a puckle o month, is an invaluable experience that Ah’d recommend tae onybody. Ye lairn that aire’s mair tae the warld than jist oor wee neuk, an foo the rest o the warld sees oor wee neuk. Aye, the warld is an affa braw place tae explore, but fan ye cam fae a kintra as special as Scotland ye shoudna forget far ye cam fae.

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We dinnae ken foo lucky we are. There are less than twinty-five kintras in the warld that offer their citizens a university education athoot peyin a penny, an Scotland is ane o them. Foo wunnerfu it is, that aabody, nae maitter yer backgrund or fit ye hae in the bank, can study tae be fitiver they want aslang as they hae the academic potential. It’s ane o the reasons that Ah hiv decidit nae tae disappear aff intae the sunset, but tae plunt ma roots here, in Scotland, for guid – Ah ken that if ae day Ah iver hae bairns, they will hae the same opportunities as Ah hiv haen fan it cams tae their careers and educations. But, mony young anes winna think twice aboot glabbin their degree certificate an gaun awa foriver, be it for tae mak mair siller or for a better climate. Ilka ‘ear universities are inundatit wi applications fae potential student doctors, nurses, an teachers, yet, while the government offers pey rises tae doctors, nurses an teachers fa are jist stairtin oot, they are still strugglin, especially in mair rural areas, tae recruit the amoont that we need tae keep oor society safe, educatit and healthy.

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Providin free university education means that scuil-leavers micht be inclined tae study for a degree in something that they’re passionate aboot, raither than for a trade fit micht be mair practical, or mair likely tae get them a job in Scotland. Sae, there micht be a curn o univeristy leavers fa end up wi a degree that isnae sae easy tae put tae uise here, causin them tae seek wark somewye else. A furrin leids student is a prime exemple o this. Mony maist likely decidit tae study anither leid or twa aifter scuil acause they liked tae traivel, acause they were guid at it, or acause they enjeyed it an didnae ken fit else tae dae. For me, it was a mixter o the three. But, ye suin realise that a degree in furrin leids alain canna exactly get ye affa far career-wise. Ye micht think that aire’s plenty jobs for leids graduates as teachers, but first they hae tae dae a Masters in education, an mony fowk hinna got the time or the funds for ‘at. The situation is pretty much the same for graduates in maths, graduates in Inglis, graduates in History, an the list gaungs on. We’re aa affa weel educatit, but daes that actually help us fan it cams doon tae gettin a job or establishin a career? Aifter spendin fower or five ‘ear o yer life studyin haird for somethin, the laist thing that ye want tae dae is gie it up. So ye dinnae, ye try an fin yersel a job relatin tae yer studies abroad instead.

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Are young fowk ungratfu for the life an opportunities offered tae them here in Scotland? Aye, tae a degree. We hae a tawin, yet high quality National Health Service, alang wi free perscriptions an higher education for aa – nae tae be sniffed at. We’ve got 12 ‘ear o the SNP bein in government tae thank for ‘at. An, it maks ye think that mebbe, in an independent Scotland, wi mair pouers tae introduce changes tae oor kintra we could really live in a social democracy, sic as Norway an Iceland, twa o the happiest kintras in the warld. Improved quality o life in an independent Scotland wad surely encourage mair young fowk tae bide, even though they micht be able tae mak mair money itherwhaur, because they wad ken that the state wad leuk aifter them, an their generations tae cam.

At the same time, ye canna entirely blame the anes that dae decide tae leave an niver cam back. Fit wi the United Kingdom haein the warst state pension in nae jist Europe, but in the developit warld ina, it’s nae wunner Scots wad raither wark owerseas tae earn themsels a better pension in the lang run. Mony fowk, young an auld, masel includit, arnae ower chuffed aboot peyin taxes tae keep nuclear airms on oor doorstep. Mebbe it’s nae the first reason for fowk leavin, but it shuirly maun contribute tae some fowks’ decision makkin process. Then ye’ve got anither failure o the Tories – the absolute stramash that is Brexit. Still, aicht wiks awa fae the day that we leave the European Union, naebody kens fit a post-Brexit Britain is gaun tae leuk like, but the chunces are that it winna be great. Short term, Brexit micht mak it mair difficult for fowk tae emigrate, tae kintras in the EU onywye, but lang term it’s likely gaun tae mak mair fowk want tae leave.

If 2018 bein the ‘ear o young fowk has taucht us onythin, it maun be that young fowk are Scotland’s future. For the majority o us leavin education this ‘ear, an in the ‘ears tae cam, oor futures arnae scrievit in stane, fit means that neither is oor kintra’s. An independent Scotland will need skilled young Scots fowk, but young Scots need an independent Scotland. We cannae let aa o oor talentit bluid flow awa tae the promised land.