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Ljubljana, Slovenia: The Underrated Beauty

Date:05 February 2020
Postcard of Ljubljana, view from Prešeren Square to Ljubljana Castle
Postcard of Ljubljana, view from Prešeren Square to Ljubljana Castle

Before I moved to Slovenia for my exchange, I had never been there. Despite that, as a Slovakian, I was usually mistaken for being a Slovenian (yes, I know it can be confusing). That was also one of the reasons why I chose Ljubljana, Slovenia for my Erasmus exchange. At least I can say now that even though I’m of a different nationality, I have indeed lived there. After a few months spent at the University of Ljubljana, there are some insights I’d like to share with you.

What is Ljubljana like?

To be completely honest, I didn’t expect much as I had no idea where I was going. This feeling, however, changed immediately after I set foot on the Slovenian ground. Ljubljana has this specific energy, which simply makes you feel good, kind of at home. What I loved was the fact that you could take a 20 minutes’ walk from the city centre and you’d be in a completely different world of forests and hills. The city is very modern and progressive. Nevertheless, it is still underrated and definitely deserves more attention. Most of the city centre was designed by Jože Plečnik, a Slovene architect, who brought the modern architecture to Slovenia. His favorite sights were pyramids. That’s why you can find small pyramids around the center. Funny fact – his plan was also to rebuild the Ljubljana Castle to a pyramid, too. Speaking of the center, the old town is for pedestrians only. Except for small electric buses, which can give you a ride for free. In addition to that, Ljubljana is very typical for having outside terrace in almost every restaurant, which is just an additional value of its cozy atmosphere.

Culture and people

Many foreigners note the fact that young Slovenians in Ljubljana like to gather and sing, pretty loudly. In general, they’re super nice and helpful. Whenever you have a problem or you’re lost, they are more than happy to give you a hand. They are also very welcoming and don’t mind sharing. But sometimes they can also be a bit rude, especially waiters in restaurants in Ljubljana. Therefore, I’d recommend learning basics of Slovenian language just to melt down ice if going there for exchange. They really appreciate it and you’ll most probably overcome weird rolling of eyes (some really do that). Also, they don’t really rush anywhere. Everything has its time. This could be a nice experience and it will teach you to slow down a little and enjoy the moment for once.

Typical Slovenian diet?

Well, let’s say that as a vegetarian, you’d have it pretty hard if you wanted to try something typical. Most of Slovenian food contains meat in every form you can imagine. Oh, and let’s not forget the sour cabbage. Yes, you see it correctly. If you went to a Slovenian restaurant (or any typical Balkan restaurant), you’d probably see meat with cabbage, Ćevapi with ajvar or a plate of 3 kinds of meat with potato mash. Not that appealing, is it? But with studentski boni, aka student coupons, you can get a bit more creative and choose from many different restaurants serving delicious food from all over the world (my personal favourites – yellow curry in DaBuDa and anything in Skuhna).

Ljubljana really stole my heart. Especially withby its people and nature. What is more, it has a great position and diversity. In case you had enough of the city and if you miss the sea, you can head south to Piran or Portorož. If you’re more of a mountain person, you can just head north to Triglav or to one of the lakes – Bled or Bohinj. Slovenia made an amazing impression and I know that I’ll come back for sure. Though, every place has its flaws and one little is, that there are not that many cheap flights from Ljubljana. But don’t let it put you off, there are plenty other options. There’s always a choice and the next decision you can make can also be visiting this small, picturesque country in the southern part of Europe.

- Sara Turkova, Slovakia, International and European Law LLB student

*The full-list of exchange destinations for University of Groningen, Faculty of Law students can be found here.

Tags: llb, exchange, erasmus