Never too late to change your mind – a conversation with Martyna

A conversation with Martyna

Welcome back,

I have a very exciting guest on today, whom I am sure you will learn a lot from as she has been through quite a journey just in the last 2 years and lived in 4 different countries the past year if that is not the definition of a nomad I don’t know what.

Let me introduce you to my second guest, Martyna. The biggest fan of pistachio gelato, a thrift shop queen and just a forever style icon.


The way our paths crossed is so lucky, I was moving out of my Danish apartment and had a few incoming students lined up for my room. Everyone has either disappeared or declined so I ended up facetiming this girl, Martyna from Poland and two weeks later she was signing the contract to take over my home of 3 years. I have spent 3 days on the balcony before moving since then she hosted me in her childhood home near Gdynia and showed me around in Milan when I visited her during her exchange semester, which you can read more about in the interview.

Martyna moved to Denmark to pursue Fashion Design at VIA University, after finishing her Architecture Degree at the Gdansk University of Technology. Since studying at VIA she lived in Berlin for a few months doing an internship, then right after she moved to Milan for her 3rd-semester exchange and attended IED Milano during the 2019 autumn semester.

I always thought it is very interesting how someone’s journey starts, so I started our interview asking the same question I asked from Zsófi. When and why have you first started thinking about studying abroad?
M: When I was at the end of my Bachelor degree I wanted to change something, I was very overwhelmed and didn’t specifically think about studying abroad I just knew I needed a big change. But studying abroad was the furthers I could go and I wanted to challenge myself.

I remember you telling me about the chaos surrounding your decision, how did your family react to this need for such a change?
M: It was dramatic, they were shocked. My architect degree required a lot of preparation, I have put so much effort into it, it was what I always wanted to do so it was hard for them to understand why I would still be willing to leave that behind.
Compared to architecture, fashion design also doesn’t spark the thought of a secure future, so they were worried for me. But it was a very important step I needed to take so we have talked a lot, I explained my perspective so in the end they got my point and understood why I wanted it so bad. All you need is communication, since then I do everything with their full support, and I know I can always count on them.

“I knew I wanted to do something with fashion”

So when it came to choosing a direction for this challenge of yours, what was the thought process behind choosing a university, did you decide on the course or the country?
M: I wasn’t focused on anything specific, but I knew I wanted to do something with fashion and this one girl studied at VIA and suggested the course to me. When I looked into it, I liked it a lot, all the courses are free so Denmark seemed like a good choice. Besides this girl, I had another friend who had some experience in Denmark and gave me some advice from the beginning, but there weren’t many other people experienced with studying abroad so it was all very new for most of my friends and family.

Since it was an out of the blue decision even for you, how did you experience the application process?
M: Right, so I finished my degree at the end of January, straight away started with the application as the deadline was the middle of March. I had no idea what I was doing but I just had to collect a bunch of documents but nothing really depended on it, I was going to worry about everything else once I got an answer from the university.

Once you got that answer, was settling down and finding a flat in Herning hard, how did it compare to other countries you have lived in?
M: When it comes to school it is easy to make new friends as you just get in a class where everyone is in the same shoes as you, so all you have to do is be a bit open. With internships, it’s a different story. About finding a flat Herning was my first time looking, so it was hard but due to the rotation of students every year it was sure I will find something, it was more stressful than hard. Berlin and Milan, however, are so competitive and expensive you physically have to be there to find a place as you have to go to castings, essentially, to get a flat. It was very stressful to wait in line and not be in control.

“The Polish system is old, very theoretical”

I haven’t experienced higher education in my home country, therefor I only know as much as my friends tell me, so I was interested in how did Martyna, someone who has seen both worlds, views the differences between the two education systems. How does studying abroad differ from studying in Poland?
M: The Polish system is old, very theoretical which is time-consuming and not always useful. I don’t think to memorize all the details were relevant and we would forget a lot of these technical elements of architecture after the exams anyways. Because of all this, we didn’t have time to focus on creativity, more freedom with that would have been great. Demark, on the other hand, is very practical, the theory is still the base of everything, but the most important part is how you implement the theory. In the very end of the day practical things matter, you need to have a product ready to sell.

Tell me a bit about your exchange experience, why did you end up going?
M: Why not, I don’t think you should pass on an opportunity if you have one. We went together with a friend so it wasn’t that difficult we could find accommodation together. We are still trying to deal with the exams from Milan and it is just amazing to have the support of someone who’s going through the same thing at the same time, I think that made my exchange experience better and easier for sure.

We talked about differences between Poland and Denmark, now how did IED differ from VIA?
M: It was busier, the schedule was very different, as at VIA we go project by project, IED was class-based, the same weekly schedule for the whole semester. And of course, the facilities could not compare to the ones at VIA. VIA’s sewing labs and all the equipment available is another level.

“I cannot plan a future in a crisis so I am just preparing for tomorrow”

What’s next now that you are almost done with your 2-year AP degree, are you planning to finish your degree with the 1,5-year top-up?
M: I have no idea. I have applied for BA to finish my full degree, just to keep my doors open, but now I have this feeling that I am too old for school and I rather do something more practical. So, I will finish my degree in a few weeks, and keep looking for internship and job opportunities. On the other hand, I am not thinking that far ahead especially with what is going on now, I cannot plan a future in a crisis so I am just preparing for tomorrow. No what-ifs just go with the flow.

Are you looking anywhere in particular?
M: It is really hard to plan at the moment, if you would have asked a month or two ago, I would have said Milan, but now I am looking in Germany, Denmark and Poland, but I am open for anything, it is more about the job than the place.

From your experience, do you think speaking the country’s language plays a big role in employability?
M: In Italy, it’s important to speak at least the basics, they always ask for Italian and English is just a plus. In Germany, it’s 50-50, in Denmark, you know how it is… (Eszter: speaking Danish is key to get a decent job, other than serving or cleaning) But honestly, I don’t check these requirements anymore, just send my portfolio and wish for the best. The Fashion industry is so competitive and sometimes even feels impossible, because everyone is incredibly hard-working, so worrying about languages is not on my agenda anymore.

Cliché question with a cliché answer that I have to include, would you do anything differently about the past 2-3 years?
M: Simple answer is no. I wouldn’t change going for an exchange or coming to Denmark, I use all these stories from my past to learn from them, especially now that I have time to reflect on them. These experiences are the fuel to my art as well, so I would not have it any other way.

“I got the internship during fashion week”

Any particular event that you will remember forever form the past years?
M: Herning has a very special place in my heart, it gave me the beginning of a new path and it was a starting point for all the other adventures. I think it’s easier to grow up in here than in a big city, ‘hygge’ way of living in Denmark was a good start for adulting. Shock therapy for sure as it was my first time away but you can process it easier than a big city I think. Berlin was amazing because I didn’t think it was possible, so it was super special. Italy reached the climax when I got the internship during fashion week and at that point, everything was worth it.

And for my last question, let’s finish up with a fun one, outside the basic stuff like your computer and phone, what is one thing can’t imagine moving without?
M: It has to be my drawing tablet and my notebook. I am a control freak and I need to have all my plans and thoughts in one place, so my notebook serves as my second brain at this point. My drawing tablet is the tool that I use for my illustrations and I could not live without it for a day.

Readers’ Mail:

Time for our weekly reader’s mail, where I ask questions, that you have suggested in the comments. This next question that we have discussed with Martyna comes from Juliette.

“I believe that you can go wherever you want”

Do you think of this period just as a short adventure and you will return home or think that studying and living abroad will be a bigger part of your life?
Martyna: Definitely bigger part, in the beginning, it was just about moving to Denmark, then going to Milan for exchange and then Berlin in the middle, I am open for everything, you can’t plan these things. Especially in the fashion industry, you have got to experience as much as possible to learn as much as possible. It is such an international field there are no borders, and I believe that you can go wherever you want. If I go back to Poland it won’t be because I desperately want to go back home, it will be because of a job or an opportunity.
Eszter: I can’t see myself going home permanently, not soon for sure, but who knows. I definitely see myself moving around a bit before settling for a country, but where that is going to be I have no idea. I agree with Martyna regarding borders, but as I am not in such a design-centric field for me speaking the language of the country is always going to be a necessity, therefor giving me some limits when it comes to moving around.

I hope you enjoyed a little insight into a truly international life in the fashion industry. I shared some of Martyna’s illustrations throughout the interview hope you enjoy looking at them just as much as I do. If you are interested in more of her work, don’t forget to check out her Instagram @mbrechelke. She is also currently running a poll whether people prefer her more clean or sketchier drawings if you want you can leave your vote in the comment section.

See you on the next one,


Eszter Németh

Hi! I'm Eszter, I grew up in Hungary but have been studying abroad since I finished high school. Earned my BA in the middle of nowhere in Denmark, spent a few months on exchange in Los Angeles and now I am pursuing my master's in Switzerland. A wild ride I must say, but wouldn't trade it for anything, learn more about studying abroad from my blog posts.

View all posts by Eszter Németh →

6 thoughts on “Never too late to change your mind – a conversation with Martyna

    1. Isn’t it amazing, glad you like it too! Will make sure to let your vote count on the sketchy/clean poll, thank you Fernanda!

  1. Hey Eszther! This is a good read. Stories of people who weren’t afraid to go out of their comfort zones to pursue their dreams. P.S. I really like the reader’s mail segment. Good job! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *