We’re lucky to have had Nada as an intern and on our reception team at Dublin International Hostel. We had a lovely chat with her about living in Dublin and hostelling in Ireland.
What were you doing before you came to Ireland?
Before I came to Ireland, I spent some decent time in Canada and Croatia. Most of the time, I was trying to complete my master thesis about month names in Slavic languages. Not really a useful topic for what I’m doing now, but that doesn’t mean I did not enjoy writing it.
What were your expectations of Ireland?
I often think about my expectations before coming here and the reality now. I expected an open-minded country with great music and proficiency in drinking. Those things really do exist. But I never expected I would have so much fun in Dublin. I have lived in 6 places in 3 different countries, but nothing compares to this city. I have seen more beautiful and cleaner cities, but not in any place on the Earth you can enjoy life as much as here. Someone once said, Dublin is as a state of mind as much as a city. And that person for sure did not lie.
What surprised you about Ireland?
The thing that surprised me the most about Ireland is the fact that it is a super green island, so close and so far away from everything; so much different than the rest of Europe and yet so much the same as any other country. Ireland is a paradox: she (if I might call her that way) is fast and slow at the same time. You will see people rushing in the city or people who live slowly somewhere in the nature. You will also see Irish stereotypes that the media planted in our heads long time ago. If you look a bit further, you will notice how this island’s biggest treasures are interactions among the people from different parts of the world that you can’t find elsewhere. Both things – local and global, make Ireland one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Unfortunately, those interactions sometimes occur as unequal interactions between First, Second and Third World, as anywhere in the world nowadays, but since human rights and postcolonialism are not the main topic of this blog post, I will continue with my next answer.
What is your favourite spot in Ireland?
This is a really difficult question. At the end, we don’t consider favourite things about how they look, but how they look like to us. Basically, it’s all about the memories and how we felt in a certain moment or place. I might go for Stephen’s Green Park. I remember, there was a sort of summer for 3 days in April. I went to Stephen’s Green around noon and returned back home at 3 am. The rest is the history.
What tips do you have for visitors to Ireland?
Open your mind, open your hearts and don’t be afraid to see everything you haven’t seen before.
What is your favourite hostel and why?
It is all about the memories or how we felt in a place, so Dublin International Hostel. A simple decision: my friends live there and all my positive energy comes from them. I’m hoping they think the same of me.
What is the best thing about hostelling?
Hostelling provides you with the whole world in just one building. You are tasting Argentinian food, French wine and you are watching Japanese movies. Living in an international environment provides your identity to expand even more. In terms of postmodernism, we cannot speak about identity anymore, but identities. The postmodern identities of a person are a colourful mosaic and they are always able to change or to expand. If we would have stayed the same people that we were as teenagers or the people with a very closed and strictly defined lifepath, our identity would have been very simple and then we could have spoken about an identity, one colour or one language human mindset. Life in a hostel helps you to bring your mindset to another level where you do not care about nationalities as something of huge importance, but rather about what can you learn from somebody who was born and raised in another country.
Nevertheless, hostels contain or should contain: internationalism, multiculturalism, foreign languages, tolerance, equality. They are safe places for any traveller and places where people learn how to share their space, their feelings or food with each other. If you have a chance to stay in a hostel for over a couple of months, you will be speaking to different sorts of people. You will speak to those that are exactly like you or to those that you don’t have absolutely anything in common with.
What is the most challenging thing about hostelling?
Hostelling is an amazing thing, but often not a reality. We often forget about the world outside. Sometimes, we stick with the people who we share the mother tongue with – perhaps because it is the easiest way of communication – and at the same time, we forget to open our mind to something new. And very often, because we have the whole world in one building, we don’t go out and meet the locals, which is also very important when you live in a new country for the first time.
Both perspectives are important if we want to keep the balance in our lifestyle. We can be living in the hostel, enjoying the multiculturalism or share our homesickness with people from the same country, but being aware of it is a bubble world. When we are aware, then we can call ourselves open-minded.
What have you learned from hostelling?
I have learned many things, not just from hostelling, but from living abroad as well. No books or education opened my eyes as much as this experience. I have learned how to share my space. I have learned how to share my thoughts. I discovered some parts of my character that I did not know before. And the most important: I have learned how to believe.
If you want to meet Nada and have more chats with her, you can find her about the hsotel somewhere. To discover more of the hostel folk that make our network special, sign up for our newsletter!