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Łódź, Poland: the city spelt weirdly and pronounced even weirder!

Translated by Helen Hardy — 4 years ago

Original text by Isma g

0 Tags: Erasmus experiences Lodz, Lodz, Poland

Why did you choose to go to Łódź, Poland?

I knew little about Poland and Polish culture before my Erasmus exchange, but by the end of it, I was in love with the country. I mainly chose to do my exchange in Łódź since the National Polish Film School is located there, one of the most important film schools in Europe whose alumni count amount them box office directors such as Kieślowski and Roman Polanski, the latter having once taught there. The second reason I chose Poland was due to the fact it's one of the cheapest countries I could study my subject in, and borders various other European countries, making it great for travelling. In five months I visited Germany, Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Finland. I also got to know Poland quite well, since Łódź is located in the centre of the country and its public transport and car hire firms were very cheap.

How long did your exchange last? How much were you paid?

There are two options: one semester or two (so five or ten months). The monthly grant I received (as an USal student) was 417 euros, which was enough to live in Poland, though you'll need extra to fund travelling and days out.

What's the student life like in Łódź?

Łódź is a very university-based city, its atmosphere is really diverse and loads of students live in the city since there are several private and public universities based there. The three public universities are Uniwersytet Lódzki (which offers mainly arts subjects), Politechnika (technical subjects) and the Mediczny (health subjects).

Would you recommend the city and University of Łódź to other students?

Of course! Łódź isn't a very beautiful city, but you'll end up loving it since you'll feel a part of it very soon after arriving and getting used to all the different types of public transport, which runs 24 hours a day. In terms of Poland, what should I say? It's a wonderful country and more similar to Spain in terms of traditions and opening times than you might at first think. The Uniwersytet Lódzki, which was my host university, organised trips or cultural days out every so often which were free or at a reduced price. In general, on most of the degree courses at the UŁ Erasmus students were given a lot of help, and this is brilliant.

What's Polish food like?

It's not bad. The main dishes are żurek (a thick soup with cream, potatoes, meat, eggs and carrots) and pierogi (pasta filled with mushrooms, meat, potatoes and/or cheese). There are loads of different kinds of soups.

How did you find your accommodation?

The ULŁ (Uniwersytet Łódzki) found my accommodation for me. I stayed in a university hall of residence located on the campus, in a flat full of Erasmus students. We paid 300 złotys a month for it (so around 75 euros) and had shared rooms with a fridge and a bathroom. We shared the kitchens.

What are the accommodation prices like?

Accommodation in the UŁ halls of residences cost around 300 złotys a month (around 75 euros). In Poland, the prices are generally half or a third cheaper than they are in Spain, apart from clothes and technology, which is about the same.

How are you finding the language? Have you signed up to a language class at the university?

Polish is very very difficult, for Spaniards, too!;) Apparently Polish is a hard language even for the Poles, so imagine how hard it seems to Spanish's impossible to speak it fluently after one or two semesters spent living there, but you learn the basic words and phrases to get by. As far as I know, all the universities in Łodź offer free Polish courses: one intensive one at the start of each semester, and another general one which runs throughout the whole academic year. My advice is to make sure you learn at least this one phrase: Nie mówie po polsku, przepraszam (I don't speak Polish, sorry).

What's the cheapest way of getting to Łodź from your home city?

From Valladolid, you can get a flight to Łodź if you change at London Stansted. Work out the ticket prices with care though, adding on the price of any suitcases you will be taking with you. Sometimes it's better financially to fly with Iberia or Lufthansa from Madrid to Warsaw and then get a four euro train to Łodź.

What about eating out in Łodź? What are your favourite places?

El Magic! is definitely one of the best bars to eat out at on Lumumby Campus. Saxofón or Pizza Lumumby are good too, two really good pizzerias on campus. The Piotrkowska Mexican and generally all the Manufaktura restaurants are great.

What does Łodź have to offer in terms of culture?

I would recommend the forests surround Łodź, Łagiewniki (the largest urban park in Europe), the botanic garden, the Jewish cemetery, the film museum, the Nazi train museum (very interesting), the historical museum (next to Manufaktura) and generally any theatre or opera show on. Sitting in the middle of Piotrkowska and watching Poles walk by is fun too, as their cultural monuments in themselves!

Do you have any advice for future students coming to Łodź?

If any Pole gets aggressive with you, talk to them about football! That's one of the best pieces of advice I can give you.;) All joking aside, enjoy this experience which will definitely be one of the most important ones in your lives. Live every day as if it were your last. Szerokiej drogi! Have a good trip!

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