The U.S. Embassy in Warsaw recently created an Alumni homestay program that matches Polish alumni of U.S. exchanges with American interns working at the Embassy. Thanks to the kindness and support of our Alumni community the initiative is taking off. Fulbright Alumna Małgorzata Korzycka recently hosted an American intern, Renay, for a week in early February and both expressed their happiness at the opportunity.
Małgorzata said “I had a great pleasure to host Renay from Texas. We came to know her as a very kind girl and such a nice guest to have. I was happy to show her some places in Warsaw, like Łazienki Park, including visiting the Łazienki Palace, some shopping destinations and restaurants. It was lovely to share meals and conversations about Poland and Polish culture, as well as memories of our stay in the U.S. and hear about Renay’s hometown and college life. One evening Renay even went shopping and prepared a traditional Texan dish for us – hamburgers with baked vegetables. Very tasty! I would be happy to continue my involvement with Alumni exchange programs, which I believe will be developing. I also strongly recommend participating in similar initiatives to other Polish Alumni, as it was a really positive experience”.
For Renay it was also a good experience: “I’m glad I chose to participate in the Homestay Program, and that it happened to be on my first week in Poland. This opportunity gave me an insight to Polish life and customs. I also could not have asked for more gracious hosts. Malgorzata and Ola treated me like I was a part of their family from the moment we met, and have continued to go above and beyond for me whenever I need help, like finding a store or navigating the public transportation system. The program is especially beneficial for people like me who are coming to the country for the first time, or have little experience with the language, people, or culture”.
The Alumni Homestay initiative aims to connect Polish alumni with American interns as an opportunity both for the intern to learn about Polish culture and life and for the alumni and host family to reconnect with America through everyday interaction. While the length of the homestay is flexible most homestays have lasted 1-2 weeks at the beginning of the internship but we encourage both interns and alumni to stay in touch or extend the homestay if there is mutual interest. These interns are part of a rigorous selection process and come from every part of the United States eager to learn more about Poland. This initiative is part of the Embassy’s commitment to growing and supporting our wonderful Alumni network and tapping into the enormous amount of talented and engaging people that our alumni network represents.