Dawid Adam Piekarz, 30, barman and scout at Oriel thinks this year’s students are an especially amazing bunch. | Interviewed by Giorgio Scherrer
“I first came to Oxford on a Friday. I had flown over from Poland for a job interview, because a friend of mine was working in Hall and had told me that a position was free. So I did the interview, got the job and started working two days later. This was eight years ago. My English was really bad at the beginning, so I had some lessons with a tutor here in college, but I couldn’t stay in Poland. The situation was just desperate there, not many jobs, and I had little work experience.
I’m from Gliwice, an old Polish town near Krakow; sometimes, when I’m a bit down, I think of going back, but actually I’m already like a local person here – everybody knows me, not just in college. And my family is a bit all over the world anyway, I’ve got my parents in Poland and two sisters in Holland that I haven’t seen for quite a while.
Luckily there are some amazing people here too, this woman for instance, she’s been a scout for forty-five years – you can have conversations with her like the good ones with your mother.
When I arrived I first worked half-time as a waiter in Hall and half-time as a scout, until I changed from Hall to the bar three years ago. The bar, I’d say, is also my favourite place around here, although staircase 15 is nice too, and Hall, of course. But not the Island site – it’s so dark there!
Myself, I live in West Oxford, five miles from here, in a shared flat with some friends. Accommodation is very expensive in Oxford – so if I could change one thing about my life here, it would be to make it cheaper. Or college rooms for staff members – that would be something too.
I think people like me – and I like to be popular. This year is actually the first time I had no problems with any student. In the years before there used to be ones that didn’t respect me, didn’t say hi or were a bit posh. But I think that’s not because it’s Oxford; in every place you have people that feel like they’re better than you. But, as I said, this year is different – there are really some amazing students now. Although it’s hard to remember all the names – what was yours again?”