We were pleased to welcome Aaron Fernandez from Iceland’s Downtown Reykjavik Hostel into the team at our Glasgow Youth Hostel as he became our first international colleague to come to SYHA under the HI Connect placement programme.

The programme, which promotes mobility of people across international boundaries, offers employees and volunteers from the International Hostelling network the unique opportunity to experience life and work in another country, enhancing their skills and giving them the opportunity to embrace the culture and environment of the host country, whilst allowing hostels to gain from sharing good practice throughout the hostelling network.

Aaron joined the team at Glasgow Youth Hostel between 20th March and 7th April 2017.  He recalls his first impression of Glasgow Youth Hostel - on finding a Ferrari and a Bentley parked outside the front door of the youth hostel, based in a listed building in the West End neighbourhood, he had to double check that he’d gone to the correct address.

The programme allows hostelling employees from around the world to share working practices and Aaron was impressed with how team members in Glasgow carry out a variety of tasks within the hostel rather than having a specific role. He can see the benefits in both working practices but also recognises how Glasgow’s approach can help team working, breaking down boundaries amongst employees whilst supporting each other at work.

He quickly settled in and when he wasn’t working he spent his time climbing, visiting a friend in Edinburgh and exploring Glasgow, book in hand.

Aaron has now returned to Iceland. He has improved his English, made new friends and taken new ideas and lasting memories of Scotland and SYHA home.  He would like to thank the team in Glasgow for their patience and kindness during his stay and hopes that other HI colleagues will have the same opportunity he’s had under the HI Connect programme and enjoy their experience in another country.

His feedback on the experience with SYHA has been much appreciated and we would like to wish him well. We hope that Aaron’s experience will be the first of many exchanges across the SYHA network.