What’s the best way for young people to travel, meet new people, and get to know different cultures in an affordable way? The answer is staying in hostels, where young generations from all over the world share experiences and unforgettable moments. Today we meet Laura, a young Italian girl who moved to Copenaghen and started working for one of the most well-known hostel brands in Europe: Generator Hostel.
Hi Laura, can you introduce yourself to our readers?
Hey! My name is Laura, and I am a 27 year old Italian – a pizza lover, yes. I moved to Copenhagen in January 2015 and am still here! I grew up in Bergamo, a city in the North of Italy, and I have to be honest: being away has made me realise how beautiful my hometown is. When I left I didn’t have particular expectations, except that of experiencing a more international environment and looking for a job that was relevant to what I studied: foreign languages. Going abroad is a must for young people, for Italians this is especially true because the work situation in our country is very difficult, while in many Nordic countries work experience is considered part of the study plan. But I’ll move to the reason I’m presenting myself here, which is my life-work experience in a Generator hostel in Copenhagen, where I am currently employed.
Tell us a bit more about your experience working for Generator Hostel…
I will start by saying that I love hostels, as they are different from hotels: hotels are more formal places usually designed for comfort. But hey, we are (still) young and we want to have fun! As a traveller in my early twenties I always chose to stay in hostels during my trips with friends, and I can remember them one by one. Those were awesome times and hostels definitely helped making these experiences unforgettable. I remember the nights spent there after going out, I would meet people from all over the world and would hang out with them as if we had always known each other: hostels are made for this. Of course price is an important factor: most of the times staying in hostels allows you to make your budget go further.
My encounter with Gen happened by chance, but was influenced by my hostel-attraction: at the time when I was looking for a job hostels were on the top of my list. I started working here right after I moved to the city and I’ve been here for more than two years now: a long-lasting novelty! A lot of things have changed in this time: the amount of people staying in Gen is growing steadily year after year, and we organise many events that we didn’t have before. Gen is like an entertainment park – sleeping is just a small part of the experience. Among the activities we organise are pétanque, called bocce in Italian, shuffleboard games, dj nights, happy hours, Sunday brunches and barbeques… there is really a lot going on every day of the week. These activities attract many Danes too, who come just to hang out and have fun over the weekend. We have a full package for everyone, and there is still more to come: just wait for it!
What was the first thing to impress you about Generator?
If I had to pick one thing it would be the design: the ambience feels new and fresh, it is curated in every detail and brings a touch of extravaganza to your holiday. Generator hostels are not very low price, they are somewhere in the middle. Forget about the small hostel you find on the corner of a street: every Generator has an average of six-hundred beds and over six floors. There is usually a lounge area with hammocks, cargo-bikes, games and designer couches. All our hostels have a restaurant, a bar, a breakfast buffet and an ice bar. See it to believe it.
Let’s talk about the hostel brand itself, how international is it?
The Generator in Copenhagen is now five years old, and has been renewed recently. I think it was the third Generator to be opened after the ones in London and Prenzlauer Berg in Berlin. Today we have hostels in Copenhagen, London, Berlin, Hamburg, Dublin, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Paris, Rome and Venice. In the spring of 2017 Generator opened in Stockholm, in winter it is expanding to Madrid, and next year we’re going to Miami! So Generator is becoming truly international now more than ever – we’re trying to reach the other side of the world. And it’s not going to stop!
You must have met people from all around the world…
Yes, I have. It seriously feels like the whole world is going through Gen. I’ve met Americans and Australians, who are the ones travelling and backpacking for the longest time when they come to Europe. There are also many visitors from southern European countries like Spain, Italy and Portugal, as flights within Europe are normally cheap. Argentinians are many as are visitors from China and Japan, and I have to say that the latter have the funniest habits and dresses. But, believe it or not, we have hundreds of Danish school groups staying, and when I say hundreds I mean it! They come from Jutland (the inner part of Denmark) or from other regions of the country to visit Copenhagen. In the weekend local families pop up to play pétanque or have a drink.
What do you think about youth mobility?
It’s a must! Nowadays all kinds of means allow us to move quickly and affordably to every corner of the earth. And why not take advantage of these? They say “the world is like a book and the ones who don’t travel read just one page”. I’ve been around Europe quite a lot but never in America or Asia. But you can’t work in a hostel if you are not a travel-addict. Many of my colleagues at Gen have been literally everywhere. I have colleagues from Argentina, Lithuania, New Zealand, Portugal, Morocco, Poland, Ireland, USA. And this is so cool! But back to mobility: hostels are about that. Hostels allow people to travel affordably, they are meeting hubs. Younger and younger people can now travel with moderate budgets, which was not possible some time ago.
It seems that Generator offer space for a strong youth network to develop…
Hostels in general are great in connecting people, and the bigger the name, the bigger the attraction I guess. Hostels facilitate travelling solo: if you are on your own you will likely meet someone like you to have breakfast or discover the city with. Plus the events we hold are a great way to make people socialise. So my answer is yes, a hundred percent.