Polish Language Blog

Anna Goes Back to School – in Łódź Posted by on Jul 24, 2009 in Culture, Vocabulary

I am really glad that so many of you share my opinion about Łódź. That city is a fascinating place, and if I could, I would very probably move there myself. I even like that fact that it’s so hard to get to. But if you are determined to get there, whatever you do, don’t drive. Save yourself a lot of time, nerves and energy and take one of those cute, new, little “pośpieszny” trains from Warszawa. They almost make you feel like you’re indeed in a civilized European country.

Unfortunately, I won’t be moving to Łódź anytime soon. So, instead, I’m going to go to school there. No, not to Film School. Like I said before, they wouldn’t take such a beztalencie (talentless wonder) as me. And I’m only kinda, sorta going to school in Łódź, because all my coursework will be done as a distance learning program.

I think I mentioned on this blog before that I was considering going back to school in my old age. The problem was finding the right school. Because of my situation, what I needed was an individual course of study. But not only that – I wanted a fully virtual individual course of study. Not a “ studia zaoczne” (weekend) program, but the whole enchilada, toppings and all – done entirely on-line.

So sometime last year, I began the tedious process of contacting different schools. In Poland. I very quickly came to realize that public institutions are still in the dark ages when it comes to distance learning and shifted my focus towards private schools. Eventually, I found one that offered everything I wanted. But in Brisbane, Australia.

Now, I don’t know about you, but if my studies are going to cost a truckload of money, I’d rather pay that truckload to a school in Poland. Yes, I’m a patriot, in my own sort of way…

And so, one more time, I began to contact various institutions of higher education in various places in Poland. Most laughed at me. One even said flat out – “how are we going to know if you’re learning anything if you don’t come to school?” And another – “we can’t teach you English virtually – you need to sit through the lectures. And besides, who do you think you are to ask for this special treatment?” (Special treatment? Haven’t they heard about distance learning before? I’ve always assumed it was a rather basic study option.)

You see, this was my problem – I wanted to get a degree that has to do with English, communications, and intercultural relations.

And then I got in touch with a certain school in Łódź. I explained my situation and spelled out what I wanted, in really simple words, so there wouldn’t be any misunderstandings later on. And voila. A week later I was enrolled in one of their licencjat (bachelor degree) programs. This school decided to take a chance on me and trusts me (oddly enough) to do my part. On my end, I trust them to provide me with the tools and materials (on-line, naturally) to make it all work.

How will it end? We will find out in three years, or possibly sooner. And of course, in the meantime, I will keep you updated on my “back to school” adventures on this blog.

So yeah, go Łódź!!!

PS – Thank you for all your emails and warnings! They are much appreciated! But the school I chose is not AHE. 🙂

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  1. Kuba:


    I have a feeling you are not that old. And no one is ever to old to learn new things. The most difficult thing for you, at least for me, would be to study alone and not in an environment where a teacher was available. Total emersion would be great if it could be done.

  2. Anna Ikeda:

    Kuba darling, I’m thirty-effing-eight years old. That’s pretty old in my book. 🙂

  3. Thomas F. Westcott:


    Congratulations on your going back to school.

    Your major ( primary area of study ) of English communications is a difficult subject. Since you already have a basic command of the language, now you can learn about the transfer of ideas from one person to another. Two areas of intellectual inquiry come to mind that may interest you, advertising and politics.

    Many companies will spend millions of dollars for a 30 or 60 second spot ( time slot ) during sporting event broadcasts. In order to effectively communicate a message in such a short space of time with the fewest words possible the advertiser considers many things beyond the script such as: the style of dress and the color of the clothing, body language ( primarily facial expressions and gestures -and secondarily stance and posture ), accent ( dialect – regional differences in pronounciation and yes there is a Polish accent ), use of idoms ( will the audiance understand the idom? ), timing ( how fast the actors are speaking and how frequently the scene changes ), etc. With words an advertiser has an amazing amount of choice in English because we have so many synonyms ( words with the same and/or similar meaning ). The advertiser’s goal is to persuade people to buy a product or service.

    In American politics ‘spin’ is applied according to one’s viewpoint. vastly different stories will arise from the same set of facts due to bias towards one ideologly or another. Sometimes politicians will use words to hide meaning not to clarify. Compare house and home to dom.

    Sometimes communications are meant to not communicate, That is a reply to a question could be aimed to divert attention elsewhere.

    I have found difficulties in accurately communicating ideas due to the lack of the listeners experiences, or education, or knowledge. Whenever that happens i’ll say that ” maybe I have not explained myself properly” and try again with different words, with a different illustration or example.

    I have found through my attempts to learn Polish, just how much of our languages are cultural. In Polish many times the verb is understood. A phrase makes perfect sense to a Pole but to me it is nonescence, I can use a dictionary to translate that phrase and the words just sit there. They are not doing anything. So I do not fully understand because I have not been raised in the culture that has that shared expectation of those ‘understood’ but not spoken parts of speech ( pun intended! ).

    One word of caution for your online classes, watch out for way to much information. You can easily become overloaded with suggested reading which is not suggested but is expected. And you can find very interesting topics and subjects that will take you on and on and on. Like following a trail of bread crumbs and still not getting home.

    Have fun with your studies.

  4. John Washbush:

    Anna … congratulations!

    Would you please contact me directly at ”
    John@Washbush.Com“? I would like to know more about your new school in Lodz … actually I want to know if it is the same one where I worked for five years …


  5. pinolona:

    here’s a radical suggestion – if you want to study English and communications studies related to that particular language, why not just sign up to a British university? You’d have no problem getting a distance learning course there…

  6. Soji Oyenuga:

    Press Release – New Audio Book to Help ETHNIC GROUP [e.g Polish] parent Salvage Their Children from being lost culturally. Check
    Amazing Tips for Immigrant Parents for more details.

  7. Agnieszka:

    Just out of the curiosity, which school accepted your request? Was it AHE?

  8. Kuba:


    I have a different book and 30 anything is young.
    I guess it comes down to the direction you are looking.

  9. Bronwyn:

    In 20-30yrs you will still be the same person – but just KNOW how wonderfully young you really still are now!
    I’d have chosen Brisbane, but then I have a local bias…
    Sounds like a lot of work; hope you enjoy it.

  10. Pawel:

    i come from the beautiful and charming city of Toruń. I always hated Łódź and thought it was the ugliest city in Poland. I went there one month ago, and that opinion didn’t change:)

    To to Toruń people! Find yourselves somewhere beautiful!

    And speaking of distance learning: did you see this? http://www.uo.uw.edu.pl/

  11. Marek:

    I also heard comments about “ugly Lodz,” but I met my wonderful wife there. Also, they are doing some great things in Lodz: the Manufactura complex, for instance.

    I’ll probably be there next summer visiting my in-laws. Hopefully, my Polish skills will improve by then.

  12. natalie:

    im not sure if you can help me, but ive been searching everywhere to find out how to say “in loving memory” in polish or if that is ever the phrase they would use. i want to get something for my grandmother and she was polish but i want ot make sure it actually says something in polish…i dont really trust the translators online. thank you =)

  13. wan kian:

    I followed a week’s course at the Sorbona language school. The teacher, Justyna, also studied Polish in Italy, to understand problems that foreigners have when they learn polish. She was very professional: clear in her explanation and to the point whhen answering questions. She had a lot of material tailored to my needs.
    I had never been in Lódz and I liked it very much. Not all the buildings are well kept, but many beautiful facades remain. The small hall in Jaracza theatre was super and the Manufaktura is a must for everybody to see. Like!