Hello, my name is Elena, I am Greek and this is my second Erasmus semester in Lodz, Poland.
Well, yes, you read correctly, 2 Erasmus semesters, both in Lodz. Don’t worry, by the end of this article, you will understand why I came back (I also hope you will be tempted to follow my footsteps).
First things first, choosing an Erasmus destination is difficult, and let us be honest, we are all a bit scared to live alone in a foreign country. I spent 3 months checking every university on my school’s list (it is not as long as Germany’s list, but it was a decent number) and I felt overwhelmed and stressed. So, in the end, I decided to go to university that made me feel safer. I saw that the university of Lodz had a huge international student community, so it would be easy for me to make friends from all over the world. I would never fell alone, because there would be hundreds of other Erasmus students stressed about the same paperwork, struggling to say dziękuję and drinking beer almost every night. The fact that Poland is central, so it’s easy to travel was a plus (nice Pro-Covid era). Polish Winter was s-c-a-r-y, especially for a person from a country with sun all day, every day, but I survived and so can you.
So, I applied around March and finally at the beginning of October after 8 looong months I arrived in Lodz. My amazing Erasmus began! What made it amazing? Well:
I met an incredible amount of people from so many countries (I am not even exaggerating; the number is close to 40 countries). I learned many things about other people’s countries, I learned phrases and words from 10 languages, I ate the best homemade famous dishes and made friends for life.
The hardest part for me was saying goodbye. That last week was the most painful thing I experienced (way harder than breakups). Every day I would meet with different people and I had to say goodbye, knowing that there is a good chance we will not see each other again, after spending a whole semester every day together. I hugged them (again, nice pro-Covid era) and we cried and I didn’t want to say goodbye, but their bus/train/plane was waiting.
We made a promise, this is not goodbye, this is “see you later”, in a different part of the world, in a different time. I will keep my promise. They always have a place to stay in Greece.
In one semester I went to 6 polish cities and 6 neighbouring countries. In total 12 cities, in less than 5 months (yes, after I went home in February, I slept 13 hours a day for 3 weeks). Every trip was unique, full of long walks, hundreds of photos and beautiful moments I will treasure forever. Storytime: the funniest moment (for everyone else in my group, not me) was our trip to Krakow. The minute we arrived, I slipped going down the wet from the rain stairs. I will forever be known as Kiddo (Damn you, Krakow).
3. Lodz itself
Lodz is a colourful industrial city, no matter how paradoxical this sounds. The city is so diverse, old factories, picturesque buildings, parks and forests in one city full of international people and of course Poles, who drink vodka with us, dance, fail to teach us difficult tongue twisters, and eat kebab or zapiekanka with us at 12 at night (with this exact order).
I wish I could carry on talking about my Erasmus here, but you will probably be bored because it will be longer than my dissertation. But, I do want to say one last thing: my Erasmus in Lodz was the best experience of my life. I will always cherish the moments and the people I met, smile and cry after looking at our photos for the millionth time (Pro tip: print the best photos and put them on the wall in your room).
Stay tuned for part 2 (My second Erasmus experience here, which will be (I hope) just as good as the first.
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