• Gość na Gwiazdkę vol. 6 – wielki (stacjonarny) powrót akcji UŁ

Gość na Gwiazdkę vol. 6 – wielki (stacjonarny) powrót akcji UŁ

We managed to get together 40 host/guest pairs during the sixth edition of the University of Lodz's original campaign "Christmas Guest". About 70 students from all over the world visited our homes to join a festive meal on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. After a long pandemic break, such numbers and the participants’ accounts are a source of joy and pride for the entire university. It would not have been possible, if it had not been for the persistent work of the International Relations Office, UL team, which carried out the entire recruitment process. We would like to thank everyone who decided to act as hosts and we encourage you to participate in the campaign next year!

Meeting people as part of the Christmas Guest campaign provides multidimensional benefits, both for guests and hosts. 

My family is already used to "surprise guests for Christmas". We always enjoy these meetings. It was very nice, we talked about Christmas customs in Brazil, Turkey and Poland. The guests bravely tried all the traditional dishes. We also talked about their home countries, looked for differences in Brazilian and Portuguese, and recalled our trips to Turkey. Christmas is a beautiful time, and Christmas guests are its indispensable element. We would like to thank Hugo and Caner for visiting our house and sitting at the table with us during Christmas Eve

– reports the UL Rector, Prof. Elżbieta Żądzińska, who hosted Hugo from Brazil and Caner from Turkey this year.

UL's Rector, prof. Elzbieta Żądzińska with her Christmas guestsUL's Rector, prof. Elżbieta Żądzińska with her Christmas guests


– Thank you for this opportunity! – Zaka, a student of Computer Science in English at the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science from Azerbaijan, wrote to us briefly. 

However, there are also longer accounts, both of this year's hosts and their guests. Magdalena Sasin from the Faculty of Educational Sciences was visited by Sumreen from Pakistan, a student of Media Arts and Culture at the Faculty of Philology. 

During the conversation, I learnt a lot about Pakistan, I even felt like going there and visiting the most interesting places. I talked about Polish Christmas Eve customs, traditions and superstitions, the symbolism of dishes. My 10-year-old daughter and mum were present during Christmas Eve. Both were delighted with our guest. Although acting as an interpreter was a new and a bit stressful experience for me, I am very happy with the decision to spend Christmas in a new way. I consider the "Christmas Guest" campaign to be a great idea and would like to thank you for the opportunity to participate in it. Next year, if circumstances allow, I will also apply

– says Magdalena Sasin

Andreea from Romania, thanks to "Christmas Guest", ended up with the family of our graduate as far as in... Toruń!  

My first Christmas in Poland was amazing!!! My hosts have two beautiful dogs. We were playing with them all evening long. In addition, we ate delicious pies, borsch, cabbage with pea or carp. And of course, gingerbread cookies! I also learnt a little on how to make these dishes. We told each other about Poland, Romania, but also about many other places we have visited. It has brought us closer together. I highly recommend this campaign to other students! 

My family and I weren't sure what to expect. Luckily, after the day we spent with Robie, we are very happy and glad that we could give him a chance to spend Christmas with us. In a nice, family atmosphere, we ate Christmas dinner, went for a walk and played board games. Thanks to our "Christmas Guest" we have come to appreciate the beauty of our everyday lives. ...... Thank you for this opportunity! 

– writes Zuzanna, a student of the University of Lodz, who hosted a peer from Uzbekistan.  

The moment I walked in the door, I felt like a part of the family. I was told a lot about Polish customs. Later we ate delicious dishes, such as dumplings or bigos (Polish hunter's stew). It was the first Christmas I have taken part in! The coolest thing was that my hosts have a lot of animals – a dog, cat, lizard and even a spider! I liked the atmosphere very much. I also received gifts and I will remember this gesture for the rest of my life. I sincerely recommend that other students take part in this campaign. It helps to understand Polish culture in the best way

– recalls Eldar, a student from Azerbaijan. 

I had concerns about Mr. Ersultan, who is a Muslim, but he turned out to be very open to our dishes and customs, and there were absolutely no problems. It was probably quite an exotic experience for him, because he was writing a diary on his phone, in which he recorded entries about our customs and dishes, and during the supper he also made a video-phone call to his family and I had the opportunity to exchange a few words with his mother, which was very nice. For me, it was a big surprise that the students read Polish language well enough to sing Christmas carols with us. They liked it too – they emphasised that their friends don't practise it anymore. I guess they felt well – Ersultan even got a teddy bear from my four-year-old niece (which used to be my sister's) and took it as a souvenir

– writes Piotr Gabrielczak, Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Sociology, University of Lodz, who hosted as many as three international students.

In turn, the Faculty of Economics and Sociology student, Aleksandra, hosted a student from the Faculty of International and Political Studies, Mustafa from Turkey.

Both he and the rest of the family felt comfortable and natural. We had such a good time that he stayed a day longer, we visited my friends and exchanged gifts. I encourage everyone to take part in such an event, because the joy it provides is great. The fact that you can explain traditions and customs to someone from the very beginning, or even the whole concept of Christmas in Poland, makes you look at Christmas differently, from a completely new perspective. The awareness that you get to know a different culture, a different person, that you can at least for a moment give them home, warmth, kindness... This is something amazing. In addition, the opportunity to improve the language, break barriers, broaden your and your family’s horizons. I consider it an invaluable experience that I recommend to everyone.

The Christmas Guest campaign was established a few years ago at the University of Lodz as the first such initiative in Poland. We noticed that many students from our university, especially those who live far away, spend Christmas alone, in dormitories. The idea arose to fill their time here with the joyful atmosphere of Christmas. For many of them it is the first contact with Christian culture, but young people are always open to new experiences. For us, the hosts, it is often a lot of stress and anxiety related to our ability to cope with the new task, but dozens of reports from previous years show that in the end everything turns out great and such meetings give only positive results! 

Once again, we would like to thank all the hosts of the Christmas Guest this year and thank our students from all over the world. Let's be together next year too!  

Edit: Paweł Śpiechowicz, Promotion Centre, University of Lodz