Latvia is a great place to study Russian and the proof of this is the growing interest of foreigners who choose Latvia and Russian language courses in this beautiful country.
So, where exactly is Latvia?
Latvia is situated in the North of Europe with easy access from Scandinavia, the UK, other places in Europe, and the rest of the world. Moreover, since 2004, Latvia has been a member of the EU, so here you can feel safe and at home. Citizens of more than 60 countries (Canada, US, Brazil, Mexico, Australia) – including all EU citizens – do not require a visa to come to the course
Russian language in Latvia.
Almost half of Latvia’s population are native Russian speakers and most of the population speaks Russian fluently. The history of Russians in Latvia is quite long – about a thousand years.
It started when Russian merchants came here for access to the Baltic sea and, thus, control over Latvia. In 1941, Latvia became a part of the Soviet Union, where the only official language was Russian. In spite of the fact that Latvia gained its independence in 1991 and the Latvian language became official, the Russian language hasn’t lost its importance in everyday communication, ensuring good language practice for foreign students.
Across Latvia, you can enjoy Russian culture, go to the Russian Drama Theatre, enjoy Russian cuisine, see the orthodox churches and, if you come in the summer, visit lots of Russian festivals taking place at the seaside resort of Jurmala, only 30-40 minutes outside of Riga.
Riga in particular offers the ideal environment for Russian language learners: you speak during your lessons and breaks, while you socialize during evening activities and, of course, with your Russian-speaking hosts. Newspapers and magazines, radio and TV channels, menus, cinemas and theatres…you will get all this in Russian.
Capital of the Baltics.
The most attractive city for Russian language study in Latvia is undoubtledly Riga.
With a population of nearly 800,000 people, Riga is one of the largest cities in North-Eastern Europe, although few would ever guess by looking at a map.
The quaint beauty of the Old Town, the splendor of the city centre architecture, the winding stretches of parkland and the nearby beach resort Jurmala are sure to charm you. As soon as you come, you will find a typical European city with a lot of name shops and the feeling of security and comfort.
Moreover, Riga is the largest centre of education and science. This is made evident by a variety of cultural events, international exhibitions, scientific conferences and seminars that take place in Riga every year. There is always something for everyone. Visitors experience an intimate and relaxing atmosphere; smiling people enjoy evenings in the Old Town pubs; and people enjoy leisurely strolls around the very navigitable city.
Latvians are are open-minded and will help you if you try to communicate in Russian. Whether it is business or pleasure, Riga has something to offer to everyone: Art nouveau and medieval architecture are always visible, quality restaurants abound, and bars and clubs often stay open indefinitely as long as you have the cash to keep the taps flowing! You will enjoy the wonderful moments and at the same time master the Russian language.
What do students say?
According to students’ feedback, the main reasons for choosing to study Russian in this country were: the visa-free regime for citizens of the EU, USA, Canada, Japan, Korea and many other countries (so, it’s easy to travel and you don’t need to waste time and money applying for a visa); the secure and comfortable atmosphere for tourists and foreigners; excellent service at affordable prices; resplendent architecture – both new and old; a seaside resort with 33 km of white sandy beaches; and, of course, a great opportunity for any kind of entertainment and recreation.
The average length of stay for a Russian language course in Latvia is four weeks from North America. However, if you have more time and want to make a six or 12-month course even, all the better!
Although Russian language schools offer several types of accommodation options, the most popular is the Russian host family accommodation option. This is an ideal choice for students who wish to experience Russian daily life and practice the language in an informal atmosphere. Come and get spoiled by delicious food made by hospitable Russian families!
Pay attention to a quality.
Choosing the right school for language study is crucial to getting the most from your stay.
Students should always take into consideration a local (check if a school is recognized by the Ministry of Education and Science of Latvia) and preferably an international (for example IALC) recognition of any educational establishment.
Small classes, ideally with no more than eight students in a group, is a big advantage as it this ensures a faster study process and much more visible progress in a short time period.
Bring a group!
Latvia is a great destination for a group cultural immersion experience. Check with the school you choose on how you can organize a program, together with them, that gives the opportunity study Russian and explore Riga and Latvia during organized activity programs.
There are so many interesting aspects of Latvia, and advantages of studying Russian here, but seeing is believing! As Russians say: It is better to see once than hear a hundred times!
Jelena Ozola EC Durbe, Marketing Manager
Durbe Education Centre
Photos courtesy of Durbe Education Centre