STOKED x Hostelling International

Words & photos by STOKED NY Mentee Altira B.

Hostelling International NYC was definitely not what I thought it would be. Picturing it in my head was like picturing my campus' dorm situation; a basic building with basic people and an environment that would only be fun if you made it that way.

This is not what was handed to us. Stepping foot inside of the Hostelling NYC Mansion was like stepping inside of a world. We were transferred from the midst of New York City into an international extravaganza. Everywhere we looked there were people speaking different languages, colorful rooms left and right, people enjoying the company of loved ones or having deep conversations with complete strangers.

It was a culture shock that I never thought I could have in a city I call home but I'm so glad it happened. Being around everyone and learning about the lives of so many people was an unforgettable experience that I couldn't achieve so easily in college. In college everyone sticks to themselves and their small group of friends. Hosteling leaves no room for any personal space. We ran into and absolutely adored two girls from France (one of which bonded with me over hair, Rihanna, and the fact that I'm part Bajan) and showered a stall away from my best friend.

Hosteling didn't just bring me closer to these lovely internationals, but also to my friends at STOKED. Spending the past few weeks with them as we went over our lessons was fun but we still all stuck with our own little groups. By the end of Friday at the Hostel though, everyone was all over and hugging everyone else. There were no more bounds and I've never felt closer to them. I left HI NYC with a lot more friends and plans to travel the world with my STOKED family.

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