Blog Post #2: How do I define home?

In my first two weeks apart of my project, I stayed with host families, but in the third I was placed in a small, dirty hostel above a convenience store in the middle of a tiny town. The group who had been assigned this job the week prior, talked so horribly of the accommodation, the people, and the school that I went in with little to no hope that I would enjoy this week. I was trying my best to make a home away from home and that was quite easy with the host families who welcomed me in like one of their own, I helped them cook like I would do with my mom, and spent time hanging out with the children of the house and gardening and watching World Cup matches. However, in the hostel, I stayed with just the two familiar faces of my group mates and a dozen other strangers who quite honestly made me feel uneasy.

This trip, at this point, had already revived my creativity and passion for writing, so I found myself writing a lot during the nights in this hostel and was often asking myself, “What is home?” It is hard to define, there are people who I consider home and places that are home and things that will always have to be in my home, but home has no distinct face or one location in my definition. I realized quickly that home was what I wanted it to be and what felt comfortable. Like going grocery shopping with your group mates and cleaning the kitchen so you can cook each other meals from your home countries, watching movies in our tiny rooms together, going on long walks to explore the neighborhood.

It didn’t matter where I went in the following weeks because I knew no matter what I could find something homely there to make the discomfort ease away.


3 thoughts on “Blog Post #2: How do I define home?

  • July 31, 2018 at 3:35 pm

    Hi Aliyah, my name is Hannah Lozon, and I work at the LSA Opportunity Hub. I will be following your blogs this summer while you are in Poland. From your first post, at work you sound like you’re really loving being a teacher, that’s amazing. I’m so glad this opportunity is helping to clarify that for you. If you continue down this path, is your intent to apply to the School of Education, or do you think you’ll stay in LSA? Or do you not know yet?

    Also, I am so glad you had an amazing experience with your host family. You really are doing a foreign experience right, wanting to learn the language, culture, and customs. Kudos.

    Now, are you still in Poland? My records indicate that the experience was done mid July. I want to make sure you’re feeling safe, and that this hostel situation didn’t go from uncomfortable to worse. I am glad you were at least placed with some other people you knew.

    Finally, have you visited us here in the Hub before? We have staff who will work with you 1:1 to reflect more on this summer experience, and be able to really tell that story in cover letters, resumes, LinkedIn, interviews, etc. Hope to see you in the fall!

    • July 31, 2018 at 3:54 pm

      Hi Hannah!

      I am planning to apply to the School of Education! I have already been taking some classes at the School of Education and it really feels like home there.

      Thank you so much! I really did try my best to immerse myself in the culture while I was in Poland. I am home now, but have started writing and posting my blog posts recently because during the last four weeks I very rarely had WiFi and wanted to really be able to decompress and write about my trip. Of course I took notes and wrote down topics and started many posts while on my trip, now I am just completing them with a more holistic view of my experience.

      The situation at the hostel wasn’t ideal, but I didn’t feel too unsafe, just uncomfortable. The organization helped me as best as they could and I had already made myself comfortable in Poland so that I was able to figure out how to survive the few days I had to stay there!

      I haven’t visited the Hub before, but I do plan on coming in during the fall!

      Thank you so much!

  • July 31, 2018 at 5:19 pm

    Aliyah, so glad you’re home safe, and it was still a wholly positive situation overall. I look forward to hearing more of your reflections as you continue to process over the coming weeks.

    And very glad to hear we’ll be seeing you in the fall! Our team can definitely help you with that application process as well. I look forward to your next post!

    Be well,


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