Written by one of our lovely volunteers Taru who will be heading home to Finland soon *sad face*, we are going to miss her so much! She has spent the past 3 months living and working here at Igloo, so if you wanted to know more about volunteering and living here, read on..
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I spent three months as a volunteer at Igloo Hostel as a part of my university course, which required me to do an internship in a country where English is the main language of communication. I couldn’t possibly be happier with my decision to do this at Igloo Hostel Nottingham; I had an amazing summer and will remember it for the rest of my life.
I applied for the position online, and took part in a fairly informal Skype interview. From the very first contact with the hostel, I felt very warmly welcomed, everyone I talked to was extremely nice, and all the arrangements were quickly done. When I finally arrived, other volunteers as well as other members of staff helped me settle in and instantly made me feel like home. The hostel provides free dorm accommodation to its volunteers as well as a weekly breakfast allowance. Personally, I was slightly worried about staying in a dormitory for three months, but in the end only ended up enjoying it!
Usually most volunteers work around twenty hours a week, but due to my university’s requirements, I worked slightly more. My tasks at work were extremely varied, which made the work very interesting and enjoyable. Some of my shifts were cleaning shifts, which includes general cleaning, changing the beds, doing laundry, and that sort of thing. Quite often my tasks also consisted of running all kinds of errands, welcoming and showing guests to their rooms, taking payments, doing check-ins and check-outs, as well as doing night shifts and being in charge of the emergency phone during the night. Most of the volunteers work in both hostels (Annexe & Pods and Hybrid), which adds even more versatility to the job.
I enjoyed my tasks, but the best part about Igloo is the people that work for the hostel. The volunteers have a very close-knit community, and they spend a lot of time together. It could almost be considered a sort of a family, so working for Igloo is also an amazing opportunity to meet new people from various and different backgrounds. New volunteers always receive a warm welcome from both the volunteers and other staff, so it is fair to say that no one could possibly feel lonely or left out here, and there is surely people to spend time with. As well as volunteers, all other people working for Igloo are just absolutely lovely, helpful and always up for a chat. In addition to the staff, the lovely guests we get also make the stay in Igloo enjoyable. In short, it’s always nice to meet new great people from around the world!
Volunteers usually get two days off every week, so there is plenty of time to explore the city as well as the surrounding areas even while working. The location of Nottingham is unbeatable, and one of the reasons why I chose this city for my internship. I have spent a lot of time in the United Kingdom the past few years and have friends around here, and Nottingham’s location makes it easy to get basically everywhere in the UK without taking ages on a bus or a train. There are loads of interesting cities within 2 hours train ride, so doing a day trip from Nottingham to another English city is easy. For instance, Manchester, London, Leeds and Birmingham are easily reached from Nottingham, as well as the beautiful Peak District.
Nottingham itself also has a lot to offer. I’ve found the people in Nottingham to be extremely nice and chatty, and as a language student, I love it that Nottingham has a quite distinct dialect of its own. When it comes to things to do, Nottingham has a castle, loads of caves, quite a few nice museums, and Wollaton Hall that was used in The Dark Knight Rises as the Wayne Manor. What I most love about Nottingham is that it’s not a huge city, but not too small either, and there’s basically always something going on. The nightlife is vibrant, and we have a lot of quirky and unconventional places to have a meal or drink at. For example, you could enjoy a Sunday meal inside a cave at Hand & Heart, or have a pint inside a former church at Pitcher & Piano, or inside a Victorian Music Hall at Malt Cross (which also has a great tour that tells you about the history of the place!). Nottingham also has loads of independent cafés and stores with loads of character, which is something I really like.
In conclusion, I really enjoyed my summer in Nottingham and with Igloo. I made some great new friends both inside and outside the hostel, and am sure to return to Nottingham at some point. I would recommend both Nottingham and Igloo to everyone who’s interested in sort of a working holiday in a lovely city with a great atmosphere!