I’ve only been in Warsaw three days, and I can’t believe how fast time is passing. Already, I can tell that this experience is going to fly by and that I will no doubt be sad to see it end next month.
For the week and half before arriving in Warsaw, I faced some fears of mine and traveled solo around Austria and Germany. Words can hardly describe how absolutely amazing that experience was – I have never felt more free or alive than I did during those eleven days. Much to my surprise, I did not experience any homesickness during my travels, and I quickly got over any nerves I had about traveling alone. However, when I arrived in Warsaw this week, I felt completely different than expected. In my head, I thought being in Warsaw would be no big deal since my nerves had quickly evaporated in Austria. So, it came as a surprise to me when my train arrived in Warsaw and I immediately felt homesick and nervous. The realization that this would be my home for the next month or so hit me hard, and I became nervous to actually live in a big city rather than be a mere tourist.
Luckily, my experiences in Warsaw thus far have been really great, and I think I’m starting to get used to being here. I was pretty nervous about the first day at my internship, as I wasn’t entirely sure how it would go. Once again, my nerves disappeared once I arrived at Fulbright. The women who work in the office are incredibly kind and welcoming. Natalia, my supervisor, was unbelievably kind and very well prepared. My first day far exceeded my expectations, as I had heard that other interns in Europe were often met with little for them to work on during the course of their internship. I had been nervous to work in an environment like that, so I’m thankful that I won’t have to.
I am really looking forward to the work I will be doing during my internship. I dived right in this week, contacting the Fulbright grantees for the upcoming year and preparing a presentation to give Polish high school students about what college is like in America. It will be exciting to get to communicate with new and different people and to understand the workings behind programs like Fulbright. As an individual interested in pursuing higher education and in contributing to the ever-growing network of scientific knowledge and cooperation, I am really looking forward to being a part of this organization for the remainder of the summer.
While being comfortable at my internship has definitely helped me to settle in to Warsaw, exploring the city has perhaps helped even more. Shout-out to Lizzy, the intern at culture.pl, who has helped me around Warsaw so far and has been hanging out with me the past few evenings and on our travels in Berlin! There is so much to see and do in Warsaw and in Poland, and I’m excited to continue exploring this weekend. So far, I’ve had a really great time exploring bits and pieces of the city and trying Polish food. This weekend will be full of exploring the Old Town and visiting museums, as the typical tourist does. Hopefully I’ll have some time to learn some more Polish too….