The question of why I studied in Łódź, of all places, I heard more often. Although I could not influence this choice of location, it ultimately turned out to be the jackpot.
Since the University of Łódź is the partner university of Regensburg, we had no choice but to study there. We had heard nothing good about it, no surprise, the Poles had been persuaded since the turn of the twentieth century about how ugly and rotten Łódź was.
So we came with no expectations of the city, which turned out to be positive as we could not be disappointed. We built up a wall of arguments pro Łódź, and the more we traveled through Poland, the bigger it became. Coming back to Łódź was like returning home. A few days in tourist cities such as Krakow, Warsaw or Gdańsk were enough to make us feel a little better in this undervalued city.
And that is also one of the main arguments for studying in Łódź: the not to scarce existing tourism. In 2013 we counted exactly one tourist shop in the Piotrkowska, and that was not even one of those who all sell the same cups, t-shirts and key fobs as row by row in Krakow. Four years later there were already two (!) of these shops.
The fewer tourists, the better!
Having so few tourists in Łódź has several positive side effects. On the one hand, life is much cheaper here: living, eating, drinking and enjoying leisure time can still be enjoyed without any guilty conscience or compromises in other areas.
For language students it is an advantage that less English and more Polish is spoken, so you just have to learn the language. And because most of the students prefer to go to Krakow or Warsaw, the Uniwersytet Łódźki is especially concerned with theirs – something that is more difficult to say of popular universities.
When studying abroad, however, it is usually not the study that plays the first role, but above all the exchange with international peers and getting to know the host country. Also for this Łódź is particularly suitable, as it is firstly in the center of Poland and so all corners of the country can be reached relatively quickly. Second, although Łódź is large in size, there are few central places to meet. This is a great advantage for Erasmus and other exchange students because it can promote cohesion and create more shared memories.
Streetart and alternative scene
The large murals should not be forgotten. Painted by international street artists, they are designed to preserve old buildings rather than demolish them, to uphold industrial charm and to make Łódź famous.
For those of you who like to eat, drink, party or shop away from the mainstream, Łódź has a great alternative scene that they like to celebrate themselves in OFF Piotrkowska. The OFF is a converted old factory – as so many in Łódź – with hip restaurants, bars, clubs, art studios and shops like Pan Tu Nie Stał (special tip!!!). An inspiring atmosphere prevails here, infused with the will of many young people to make something out of their city. In my opinion, that is consistently successful.
I could write a whole novel about this city. Who wants to read more, is cordially invited to the blog from my year abroad: lenkasause.tumblr.com.