A DIVERSE UNIVERSITY
More than two thousand international students, representing 95 different nationalities, study at the University of Lodz. In the corridors of our University we can hear many languages, we come from different countries and we often have different skin colour. We create a diversified intercultural and generational community in Lodz, thus referring to the best traditions of our city.
We are building an academic community based on respect for cultural, religious, community identity and social sensitivity. We are building a Diverse University.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE PROJECT
As part of the "University Diversity" project, students who come to study at the University of Lodz become the heroes of photography exhibitions, meet at culinary workshops, and take part in meetings during which they learn about Polish culture and customs.
The idea for the project, promoting diversity among the academic community, was born in the summer of 2016, under the slogan of the University Diversity, we combine initiatives showing both cultural, age and gender diversity of our community. The activities began as an initiative implemented with international students. Every year, a photo session and later a poster exhibition involving students were held under a different slogan. The "University Diversity Days" implemented in the following years focused on various aspects of diversity management, in terms of culture, gender, age or disability.
Activities under the "University Diversity" project include, among others:
- photo and poster sessions
- cook book release
- university days of diversity
- "Christmas Guest" campaign
THEY HAVE APPRECIATED US
Christmas Guest is an initiative that we have been implementing as part of the University Diversity project. It consists in hosting an international student in your home on one of the Christmas days. This gesture is not only a good deed, but also a great opportunity to exchange knowledge: to present our Polish customs and get acquainted with the traditions of other countries.
The project is a response to the interest of international students in the possibility of participating in traditional Christmas in Poland, when many of them stay in Lodz.
INTERNATIONAL COOK BOOK
The spring International Cook Book of the University of Lodz was another activity implemented as part of the University Diversity project, to which students of the University of Lodz have been invited. It was attended by 15 students from the University of Lodz from Armenia, Bolivia, China, France, Georgia, Galicia, Spain, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Paraguay, Romania, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine, and one student from Poland.
Each participant had to say a few words about the spring season in their country, about the holidays and traditions associated with it, and to give a recipe (vegetarian and non-vegetarian) for the main course, dessert, soup or drink that is customarily prepared in their country at that time.
A joint photo shoot and a unique Cook Book presenting culinary traditions, characteristic of this period, from around the world constitutes the result of these meetings and conversations.
UNIVERSITY DIVERSITY OVER THE YEARS
In 2016, in cooperation with 37 students – international students from 29 countries of the world, but also Poles from distant regions of the country, for the first time we carried out a poster session presenting the idea of diversity at the University of Lodz. The culmination of the work was a public exhibition of posters presenting the profiles of the participants, which was organized in Manufaktura.
At the beginning of December 2016, the first edition of the Christmas Guest campaign coordinated by the UL International Relations Office took place. About 50 international students expressed their willingness to participate in it. Among those willing to host the guests there were not only employees, but also students and graduates of our university.
In 2017, the slogan "Why Lodz?".was the leitmotif of the photo shoot. The participating students talked about the reasons why they came to study in Lodz.
As part of the celebration of the 30th anniversary of Erasmus+ at the University of Lodz, we organized a scientific conference entitled "Faces of Diversity", during which we talked about how student exchange programmes have changed universities, the labour market and the cities that foreign nationals visit. Apart from delegates from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and FRSE, we also hosted representatives of the Lodz University of Technology and the Medical University. Moreover, representatives of employers looking for graduates of the University of Lodz (Nordea, Rossmann, Philips) and activists of the ESN student network took an active part.
Those interested could also take part in intercultural communication workshops: "Cultural Awareness Workshop". During the Corridor Food Festival, regional dishes from different countries were presented.
In April and November 2017, students of the University of Lodz from Africa took part in the "Living Library" campaign twice. The campaign is to break stereotypes and build mutual understanding among people from different circles in the local community. As part of the event, the "readers" had the opportunity to meet a person representing a social minority, who plays the role of a "book". The event included individual, 20-minute conversations between "The Book and the Readers", during which "The Book" presents life from its point of view.
On the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, international students of the University of Lodz took part in the Hugs with Flags march, organised by the Marek Edelman Dialogue Centre together with KobieTy Łódź. During the joint walk, the inhabitants of the city – native Lodz residents and foreign nationals marched together along Piotrkowska Street, showing the diversity of the city.
The motto of the third edition of the campaign was "Mobility – go ahead!". 12 pairs of exchange students who found themselves in the same countries: students of the University of Lodz, who in previous years went on exchange to countries such as Japan, the Czech Republic, Finland or Turkey; and international students who came to the University of Lodz from the same countries as part of their mobility answered the question – what are foreign trips for them and what did they gain thanks to them?
In 2020, as part of the University Diversity project, we created a guide "The bright side of life: how to stay positive". We have prepared the guide in two language versions. We had in mind those students of the University of Lodz who were struggling with difficult moments resulting from the restrictions imposed in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic. We did out of concern for their health and safety.
The unexpected and rapid transition to remote learning was not only a big organisational change, but also a huge challenge to the mental balance of the students. Uncertainty of tomorrow and fear for one’s health and health of the beloved ones put everyone in a difficult situation.
The aim of the guide was both to prepare students for possible challenges related to the new reality, as well as to gather all the information and contacts they may need in one place. At the beginning of April, we made the guide available to all students through the website of the university of Lodz, Facebook and e-mailing. In addition, we sent the publication to partner universities of the University of Lodz so that more people could use it – some of the advice was universal and could be used by virtually everyone.