Ever fancied working as a groom on a farm? Horse-lover Kajsa Matsson left her native Sweden to spend seven months on the island of Jersey doing just that.
Kajsa had just finished school and wanted a break from studying. So when she came across an advertisement on EURES looking for someone to work on a family-run horse farm in Jersey in the Channel Islands, she jumped at the chance.
EURES Advisers helped her to prepare a CV and write a letter of motivation in English. Then, after a short telephone interview, she had less than a week before leaving on her seven-month adventure.
“The owners of the farm needed someone immediately to replace the sudden departure of the previous girl. On the phone the owner asked me if I could start the following week and as I wasn’t doing anything else I thought ‘yeah, why not?’,” explains Kajsa.
With horses of her own, Kajsa was no stranger to the work of a groom or the challenges that lay ahead. It wasn’t long before she was looking after five horses on the farm, which meant long days of physically demanding work including mucking out stables, cleaning tack, brushing and exercising. But she adds, “I was outdoors all day and I loved it”.
Asked what difficulties she encountered during her stay on the island, she explains: “Driving on the other side of the road took some getting used to as did understanding the different culture and ways of doing things.”
Working on a farm can be a solitary existence but Kajsa was determined to get to know the locals and learn more about the island on which she was living. “I joined a dance class and was taught how to do the Lindy Hop – an American dance from the 1930s. It was a great introduction to understanding the weird and wonderful ways of this island,” she enthuses.
So what did she gain from this experience? “I really grew up as a person. I had never been away from home before so I learnt how to stand on my own two feet, how to make friends, how to brush off criticism and not take things too much to heart. In short, these seven months really boosted my self confidence,” she asserts.
Reflecting on her time in Jersey she adds: “It was a lot of hard work but I absolutely don’t regret it for one minute!”
Kajsa is now back in Sweden and currently studying for a degree in forestry management.