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Erasmus Experience in Riga, Latvia by Anita

Published by flag-it anita fasan — 3 years ago

0 Tags: flag-lv Erasmus experiences Riga, Riga, Latvia


Why did you choose to go to Riga, Latvia?

Actually, I have to admit that it was a casualty. I applied for different cities: Newcastle, Maynooth, and Belfast. Unfortunately, I was not accepted for any of these cities, but at the same time, the mobility office of my university organized a reunion for students that did not get a destination but still had enough points to go to Erasmus. I went to that reunion and they told me that there was still an available place in Riga. I thought a bit about that and then I told myself to jump in this adventure. Going for Erasmus was one of my biggest dreams and I accepted to go to Riga, even though it was not my first choice. In the end I can tell it has been the best thing that could have happened to me, and I will choose Riga again and again!

How long is the scholarship? How much money do you receive to help you with living costs?

My university offers 350 euros per month scholarship for a destination like Latvia, Lithuania, Spain, Greece or Estonia, and scholarships of 400 euros for countries where the cost of living is higher (Sweden, Germany Netherlands, etc). In addition, my university gives extra money based on the economic situation of the family, it ranges from 300 per month to 150 euros. I got 150 euros more, so in total, I got 500 euros per month.

The length of my scholarship was six months but my Erasmus in Latvia lasted five months in total, so they will recalculate my scholarship on the basis of the effective number of days I spent in Latvia.

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What is the student lifestyle like in Riga?

Riga is a city that offers many possibilities for activities for students. It is at the same time a city for quiet, partying people, in short, it is suitable for any type of Erasmus student. There are a lot of pubs where to go just for a beer or a lot of clubs to go dancing, it depends on what you like, but be sure you will find something that is perfect for you. Since it is also a cheap city (at least, compared to my hometown university) I went often out for dinner or for lunch, most of the time with friends. Another thing students do a lot in organizing dinners and parties at home. Even if we put on music until late in the night, we never had problems with the neighbors, which was sooooo good and also a bit strange because when I and my friends organize parties in Trento, someone always calls the police :(

Would you recommend the city and the University of Riga to other students?

Yes! the city as already mentioned is very versatile and offers a lot of things to do. There are a lot of things to visit, not only in the city but also nearby.

I was studying at Riga Graduate School of Law, in the embassy area. The building that hosts this university is a very beautiful one. We were not so many Erasmus students in total, just 34, but this gave me the possibility to get to know well all of them and I can say we became a big family.

The study method was completely different, especially for me ad my Italians colleagues as we are not used to writing papers or presentations in class, but in the end, we all managed to succeed in our exams and we learned a lot of new skills.

The English spoken by my Latvian colleagues was perfect, so at the beginning, I was scared that my level was not enough, but this pushed me to improve quickly and in the end, I think that I have perfectionated my English language skill.

What is the food like?

Latvian cuisine is very different from the Italian one, but surprisingly I liked it very much. The thing you have to expect when you go to Latvia is to eat a LOT of Potatoes; ) they cook them for every meal and in a lot of different ways, mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, stuffed potatoes, potato pancakes and so on.

Beef in Latvia is very fresh and tasty, at the restaurants I was basically always ordering "beef stroganoff" and roasted potatoes, you should try them.

There are a lot of other tasty plates, such as the Pelmeni, a kind of tortellini.

I am not a fan of sweets, but there are a lot of tea houses and "Konditorei" (pastries) where you can order any kind of cakes, muffins, pancakes, cupcakes, and biscuits for 1 or 2 euros per piece.

Beer is also very very good and CHEAP! Aldaris, Latgales, and Mezpils were my favorite ones. In some bars you can have half a liter of beer for less than 3 euros, which is heaven.

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Did it cost you to find your accommodation in Riga?

I have found accommodation in Riga trough Facebook groups, and I think it is the easiest way to find a room. There are a lot of groups for students rents and there is a lot of offer for every kind of apartment and at different prices. I paid 425 euros per month, which I know it's not so cheap, and in fact, I wish I had chosen a cheapest accommodation. Despite the price I cannot complain about anything about my accommodation, it was a six student flat with six single rooms and three bathrooms, and of course the kitchen. I loved my flatmates ad we got on very well. I was staying in this building where on the other floors were living other Erasmus students so this was a good opportunity to make a lot of friends and party all together in the building.

How much does it cost to live in Riga?

It depends, in general, it is not so expensive. I will make some examples: the monthly student tickets for transport are 16 euros and is valid for busses, trolley busses and for trams (by the way transports work very well). There are two other things that are cheap and you will love: BOLT and YANDEX! they are taxies, but not as expensive as in the other capital cities in Europe, a ride with bolt or Yandex of 15 minutes can cost only 5 euros or less. It is amazing especially after a party when there are no more busses or to reach the airport (10 euros).

The supermarkets are not expensive (of course it depends on what you eat usually), the ingredients are fresh, bread meat and vegetables are good and affordable. I think every grocery i did I spent at least 10 euros less than what I would have spent if I were in Italy.

Is the language easy to get to grips with? Are there language courses available at the University?

Yes, it's easy to understand.

What's the easiest or most economical way to travel to Riga from your city?

Plane, but not from my city, from milan, so i have to travel 2 hours by car to get there.

Where would you recommend to go on a night out in Riga?

- Easy Beer

- Easy wine

- funny fox

- rock cafe

- Skyline of the raddison hotel

- greenwood bar

- paldies latinam

- egle

- Etis Zmigla

- Alus muiza

- KV

- paname

And for eating? Can you recommend some good restaurants in Riga?

- Ala folkklub

- Wok to walk

- Lido

- tokyo city

- central market

What good cultural sites are there to visit?

occupation museum, art nouveau museum, KGB building.


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