Exploring a new part of Poland

Allison Smith

Every summer, Natalia Wojdak goes to Poland to visit her family, but this summer she wanted to do something a little different

Every summer, Natalia Wojdak goes to Poland to visit her family, but this summer she wanted to do something a little different.

Using her dual citizenship, she applied to work at a Polish hostel, which offers inexpensive lodging in dorm-style rooms.

“It wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it was going to be,” the sophomore fashion merchandising major said. “I just sent out a couple e-mails to different hostels, and I picked the cities I thought would be the prettiest cities to work in.”

Wojdak said most of her family lives around Warsaw, the capital city, but she wanted to go somewhere in Poland she’d never been.

“I thought it would be interesting to work in a city where I didn’t know anyone and a city I didn’t really know anything about,” she said. “I’ve been to Warsaw so many times, so I wanted to pick a new place.”

Wojdak is fluent in Polish, which initially helped her get the job. Her boss didn’t speak English, but she said it was her fluency in the language that helped her the most while she worked at the hostel.

“Surprisingly, everyone that came to stay at the hostel relied on English whether it was their first language or not,” Wojdak said. “Anyone really traveling through Poland, no one spoke Polish — everyone was just traveling around Europe, so just about everyone that stayed in our hostel spoke English.”

Wojdak said everyone she met had a story and a different impact on her time at the hostel. She still talks with some of them through Facebook.

“It’s nice knowing where they are now,” she said. “I’m planning on studying abroad through Kent when I go to Florence next fall, and a lot of the people I met live in Rome, so I’m sure I’ll end up seeing them again. It’s nice going to a city and knowing you know someone who lives there.”

Aside from her month in the hostel, Wojdak traveled through other parts of Europe, including Spain, Austria and Hungary.

Wojdak said traveling on her own in Europe made her more independent and confident in herself.

“I feel like you become more well rounded because you’re putting yourself in such a new environment,” Wojdak said.

“I’ve never traveled on my own or with a friend so I figured it was time to try a little Euro trip and do something on my own.”

Contact Allison Smith at [email protected].