An update from Vivian:

I have to admit I was a little worried when I learned we would be staying in a hostel in NYC; a semester in Spain provided me with several hostel horror stories, and I was not looking forward to reliving those experiences in the States.

I was more than pleasantly surprised when we arrived at the International Student Center on W. 88th Street on Monday morning. It is an adorable townhouse in a residential neighborhood a minute’s walk from the subway. It is an old building, but it’s old in a cozy, people-have-really-been-at-home-here way.

Within an hour I had met staff from Algeria and Germany and guests from France and Ireland; the hostel definitely lived up to its “international” title. The lounge/kitchen in the basement is comfortable and relaxing, and I’ve already had my fair share of conversations with people whose globe-trotting backgrounds make me want to put school on hold for a few months (or years) and make my way across the world.