Study in Latvia
Graduate programs in Latvia
Looking to study abroad in one of Europe’s less known countries? Look no further than studying a graduate program in Latvia – Europe’s hidden beauty.
Known mainly for bustling capital Riga, with its busy nightlife and amazing architecture, Latvia is actually a refreshingly vibrant and adventurous country. Outside of Riga, there are plenty of ways to get a buzz, from mountain biking to sea swimming to visiting tiny villages.
Come study a graduate program in Latvia and get in before the tourist masses do.
Higher education in Latvia is split into two distinct sector, broadly separated by research and vocational Masters:
- Academic programs – these Masters focus on developing research and knowledge
- Professional higher education – these Masters focus on vocational subjects
Latvia is home to seven universities where you can study a graduate program, as well as several other institutions offering graduate programs.
Masters in Latvia will normally take two years to complete, with PhDs taking up to five years to finish. Courses tend to be taught in Latvian, so you may need to brush up on your language skills.
Immigration and visas in Latvia
EU citizens are permitted to take a graduate program in Latvia without a visa, but will need to obtain a student residence permit within three months. Your university should apply for the permit for you on your behalf. You will need to demonstrate the following:
- You are studying for more than three months
- You have sufficient income or savings to support yourself during your studies
- You are enrolled at an approved or accredited institution
- You have comprehensive health insurance
Non-EU students will need to apply for either a short-term entry permit or a student residence permit depending on the length of the Masters degree. A short-term entry permit will allow you to stay in Latvia for up to three months, after which you will need to obtain the student residence permit.
Life in Latvia
Latvia is a relatively new country, having only gained independence from Russia in 1990. However, its geographic position and small size means it has absorbed many different cultural influences throughout the years, from Russia to Slavic to German.
International students in Latvia are most likely to be studying in capital Riga, which has all the modern attractions and restaurants that you’d expect of a European city. However, just an hour away is the Latvian countryside, with valleys, lakes and coastlines waiting to explored.
Latvian cuisine is hearty, with plenty of Russian favourites like borscht, blinis and caviar on show for the rich. However, it’s worth seeing out some of the Central Asian restaurants on offer to try traditional Uzbek, Armenian and Georgian food.
Working in Latvia
Although a member of the EU, Latvia will only take up the Euro at the beginning of 2014. The Latvian economy had one of the highest GDP growth rates in Europe before the global recession, but experienced the biggest fall in GDP in the EU in 2009.
The Latvian economy is still recovering from the recession and unemployment is high at 16%. Despite this, Latvia’s main economic output centres around transport, with 14% of its GDP coming through the sector. Hydroelectric power and wind farms are also major employers in Latvia, while tourism has grown, particularly in capital Riga.
EU students are allowed to work in Latvia as part of the terms of the EU.
Most international students coming to study a graduate program in Latvia will live in one of two types of housing:
- University accommodation – such as halls of residence
- Private accommodation – House and flat rentals
Most of the universities in Latvia will provide dormitory accommodation for graduate students, offering shared kitchens and study areas and private bedrooms. Going for this option is a good way to meet fellow students and settle into university life.
However, if you prefer your own private accommodation, then you should ask your chosen university to help you find somewhere to live, as the Latvia property market is complex and difficult for foreigners to navigate.
Climate in Latvia
Latvia typically has cold, snowy winters and warm, sunny summers, with four distinct seasons. Winter is at its coldest between December and February, when temperatures regularly fall below freezing and snow is common. Summer is at its warmest between June and August, with average temperatures of around 20C.
Latvia is a small country, so getting around is fairly easy. It has a well developed road network and runs several railway links, including international ones with Russia, Lithuania, Belarus and Estonia.
Latvia major airport is in capital city Riga, which operates flights to 80 destinations in 30 countries.
The currency of Latvia is the Euro.
What to do next
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