In this piece, IH Blog Assistant Editor, Nikol Stoykova, sits down with Norbi, the winner of the November IH Community Award. Read on to learn more about the friendly face that greets us as we enter our home.
Nikol: Describe yourself using only three words.
Norbi: Helpful, talkative, friendly.
Nikol: Where are you from?
Norbi: What is one special thing about the place you grew up in? I’m from Hungary, from a village in the Eastern part of the country that is close to the Romanian border. It is a small town where everyone knows each other, and we talk a lot amongst ourselves. I was looking for a job in Hungary, but it’s really tough, so I followed my sister and came to London. First, I was a cleaner in College Hall. Then, they offered me a job in International Hall, Monday to Friday; they knew my sister, and they knew they could trust her, so they thought, you know, “maybe the brother is similar” (Laughs) Since then, I’m here, since March 2013. I do miss home though, mostly my family, but me and my sister, we go home at least three times a year.
Nikol: What is your favourite holiday and why?
Norbi: It’s definitely in the summer time, maybe in July and August when the weather is nice because you don’t get too much sun around here.
Nikol: What do you wish you had more time for?
Norbi: To be with my family.
Nikol: What is the one food you can eat every day and never get bored of?
Norbi: Good question! I’m not sure if there’s a food I’ll never get bored of. But I definitely miss my mum’s chicken soup! (Laughs)
Nikol: What are you interested in that most people aren’t or haven’t heard of?
Norbi: I really like watching football, but everyone does really. (Laughs) I used to play football back in my country, in third league; it was amateur but I really enjoyed it. But I wouldn’t say I have any extraordinary hobbies.
Nikol: What is the most interesting place you’ve been to?
Norbi: I went to Finland when I was 14. I’ve also been in Spain, Portugal, and Greece, and I really enjoyed it there, but I would say Finland is the most interesting place I’ve visited. The people there are very friendly—I know it’s not just there, but still. It was my first time away from home, my first time getting on a plane. Actually, I went there to play football, and we were staying there with another family, and they were so nice to us. It was my first time away from my family as well, so it really felt heart-warming how welcoming they were. It was really fun, although we didn’t win the tournament. (Laughs)
NIkol: What is an exciting thing coming up in the near future that you’re looking forward to?
Norbi: I’m planning a trip to Canada in March with my girlfriend. We’re staying with her brother in Toronto, and I’ve never been there, so I am excited about the many interesting things there are to see. That’s the biggest plan for this year. I was just looking at the flight tickets today actually. (Laughs)
NIkol: What is one hidden talent that you have or that you wish you had?
Norbi: I would love to be able to play the guitar and sing. Or be a mind-reader. (Laughs)
NIkol: What sport would you really want to be a professional in?
Norbi: Maybe football or cycling. I like to cycle, not this time of the year, but when the weather is better. On the weekends I do 20-25 kilometres just around where I live. I really like watching cycling too! They have incredible stamina: in football, they go for only one and a half hours, while in cycling they can go on for six to eight hours!
Nikol: What is the best thing about working in IH?
Norbi: You meet so many people here. I really like talking to everyone; it’s so nice to get to know so many different people. You can never get bored, even when it gets quiet sometimes. Once you start to chat with people, the time flies so quickly. I know that any problem people have, they’re going to come to me or to someone else who is there. It’s good to help them because for some people it’s very difficult to be away from their family for the first time, I can imagine. I was in student accommodation back at home when I was in high school, so I understand how difficult it could be to be on your own. When you know someone, it’s much easier to settle.
If anybody ever wants to talk to me about something, I’m here. I’m always good to talk for good things or bad things!