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Interview with Graham Milne

Graham Milne shared memories of taking the College Rugby team to an international universities rugby tournament in Bilbao, Spain. He talks about the journey there by bus, feeling lost once they got there, beating the English team in the first round, and the feeling of coming third in the tournament. He also talks about how things have changed at the university since his time there, and the importance of taking advantage of the social aspects of university as well as the educational benefits.

0.00 Start of the interview
0.20 Didn’t initially want to do Civil Engineering. Wanted to do Architecture at Dundee University. Dad owned GMB. Failed first year of his degree and did a Higher National Diploma in Civil Engineering instead
1.10 Great honour to be picked by peers to be captain of the rugby team. Great responsibility too – need good attitude, discipline. Wouldn’t see himself as the best player, but had other skills – leadership for example.
4.20 He received a letter from Spain looking for teams to promote rugby in the Basque area of Spain through a tournament. The application he put forward was a little embellished. But to his surprise the team was selected. Initial doubts - didn’t know how they would get there – didn’t think they could do the country credit. Had to try to get funding to travel, but accommodation, food etc would be supplied by Bilbao University. Managed to get the funding but it was a very hard task – some of it came from the College, but most of it was raised externally. They took the Bus to England, cross English Channel, then to Spain via Stagecoach. Train to Arun [???] station. Left there on their own in the middle of nowhere not sure if there would be another train to get where they needed to go. Managed to then catch a train to Bilbao, but they had no-one able to speak Spanish and there was no-one to meet them there in Bilbao. They were afraid of armed police walking around the town due to threat of terrorism (Basque separatists). They felt lost, he “nearly had a mutiny” from the team (i.e. people threatening to go home and not take part). But someone managed to phone University of Bilbao and a bus was arranged to their accommodation.
9.20 First game against England (Salford Uni), and Scotland won. Their opponents had a more professional set up (coach, medics, better equipment etc), but were over-confident, and had gone out the night before, so they were not in good shape for the match. Dundee “took them apart”.
11.20 He feels his team had great camaraderie, team spirit. Great feeling to win Bronze medal. Only sadness is that some players that he had promised would get a game, decided after that first match that they were not good enough and opted out of playing, choosing instead to cheer from the sidelines. He regrets they didn’t get the experience of playing in the tournament.
13.20 He didn’t stay in college accommodation, but stayed at home in Dundee, and had the benefits of that. He managed to see the College’s accommodation, and, compared with what his children have experienced at university, thinks there is a big improvement in what is provided now.
15.10 College / Uni is all new for students, and next steps are work, then rising in your profession, for example, taking part in professional organisations (like the Chartered Institute of Civil Engineers). Planning is important – plan to get where you want to go, encourage others to join your profession. He is a STEM Ambassador (Bridges to Schools) – and has shown school pupils how to build suspension bridges, and conduct disaster recovery exercises. Make sure you contribute to your profession.
19.05 He remembers the whole experience was one of enjoyment. Take advantage of the social aspect as well as the educational one, so join a society or a club that will introduce you to your circle of friends for the next few years. This also applies when you get into the world of work or moving to a new area – it’s all new, and joining a club helps you get into that new environment.

Graham Milne