Before reading this post, please check out my previous post where I explained what Angloville is and wrote about my amazing first programme in London. This post is all about my trip to Poland, my first ever solo trip abroad.
By sharing my experiences this summer I really want to show what you can do on an internship which allows you to travel, meet new people and have new experiences with little cost. Doing something completely different has made some of the best memories, experiences and friendships that are going to stay with me for a lifetime. Also, travelling alone as a women can be scary and I want to make girls feel a bit more empowered and confident to do this as it has been one of the best things I’ve ever done.
So the part of Poland I went to was Gdansk, a beautiful old city near the coast. It was largely destroyed in the second world war and then restored in later years but the feel of the city is still very old and romantic. Walking down the streets feels like stepping into some old romantic 40s movie.
My flight to Poland wasn’t too traumatic although there was a stop over in Munich which meant trying to change flights by yourself in the biggest airport I’ve ever seen. I arrived at my hotel in Gdansk around 6pm, checked in and got ready for my first night in Poland. By myself and not knowing anyone in an entire country I headed to the town where I walked and saw all the sights as the sun was starting to set – Neptune’s Fountain, the golden gate, the green gate and St Mary’s church. I then went to a little Italian restaurant with a view along the whole main street, ordered spaghetti bolognaise and a cosmopolitan (when in Rome!) and watched the world go by.
It was dark by the time I’d finished my meal so I decided to take a walk up to the river. As I was walking all I could hear was music – Gdansk is full of amazing night-time street musicians. As I got to the green gate there was a little three piece band with an amazing violinist. I stood and listened leaning against the gate as she started to play one of my favourite pieces of music ‘Moon River’, the only song in my favourite film ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’. I walked along the river and talked to a few people as I think people are pretty friendly if they think you’re a traveller. I had a drink with a Russian lawyer (random I know) and learned very bad Russian while he made fun of my accent.
So it was my first full day in Gdansk and I was meeting a few of the other native speakers to go on a tour of the city (which unbeknown to me I’d pretty much done the evening before). I met the lead coordinator and two of the other girls and chatted to them as a very nice Polish women walked us round the city in the rain. After climbing the tower of St Marys church – which involved a lot of steps – and being told off by the lady in the church for being too loud (SHHHHHHH!), we headed to a small coffee shop where I ordered a latte and the women had no idea what I was ordering due to the British accent and the other girls had to translate. We then sat and talked and by the time we checked the time, we’d been there 4-5 hours. After a little wander round the city to some shops and a cute little market that sold the best blueberries I’ve ever had in my life, we went to Manna – an amazing vegetarian restaurant (best vegan curry ever!)
So in the morning it was time to head to the week-long Angloville programme which was held at Pałac Bałoszyce. This venue was very different to Roehampton University, in the middle of nowhere. I had the best week eating plums and drinking black tea, eating soup with every meal and listening to Sara play the piano beautifully. The juniors on this programme were amazing and I’ll never forget our after dinner futong club and the impromptu dance sessions as well as our walks up and down to the bridge. Throughout the week I learnt a lot from the juniors and I’d say my favourite was a popular Belgian dance, the Belgijka, which I can now dance badly ( I think I stepped on a few toes).
Warning log off now for the less PG part of my trip
Once the programme was over it was great heading back to Gdansk with a group of friends. With one last night in Poland we were 100% ready to party. After a shot bar (where I had the weirdest popcorn shot ever), we went to find a nightclub. We found one somewhere down the back streets of Gdansk old town. All I can say is Polish clubs are something else – they have possibly the biggest bouncers I’ve ever seen. The drinks are also so cheap, so imagine the drunkest you’ve ever been, times that by 10 and that is how drunk every single person was in this club! It was pretty cool. On the first floor was a bar, the second floor was the club (which was good apart from when I got picked up by a stranger on the dance floor and screamed out of pure shock!) and the third floor (this is what the warning was for…) was something that I can only describe as a brothel looking. Just to clarify, none of us was aware of this when going to this club so after walking up stairs with my friend as we thought there may be another room to the club, I was swiftly pushed back down the stairs after seeing a variety of metal cages. So as it got into the latter hours of the night, two of us were extremely drunk and two were extremely sober (from looking after the extremely drunk two) and we headed back home after an eventful night in Gdansk!
All I can say is the last adjective I could ever use to describe my trip is boring. That’s what I loved about being in Poland and partaking in Angloville is that I was at no point ever bored. I hope my two Angloville posts ignite a desire for a summer of travels and maybe to try something new. Youth work was never something I ever thought about doing but I’ve just done it. Poland was never on my list of countries to go but now I’ve been, I can’t wait to go back. I never thought I’d text people who lived all around the world and my Facebook feed would be all in Polish, but it is now!
So try something new. You don’t have to go all the way to Poland, but join a UCB society, join the UCB Ambassadors, go to a Guild event or something else. Tweet us at @UCBloggers and let me know about your adventures or what you thought about this post or any of our others.