Erasmus Experience in Riga, Latvia by Saray
¿Why did you choose to go to Riga, Latvia?
I wanted to see a country that was different to Spain. Another culture, another climate. It's a faraway country that I knew very little about and about which I was interested to know more.
How long did the grant last? How much money do you receive to help you with living costs?
9 months. I don't remember how much I got exactly, but it was more than you will receive now. This nasty government is messing with us all.
What is the student lifestyle like in Riga?
Incredible. Wherever you go, you'll find students.
Would you recommend the city and the University of Riga to other students?
Yes, without a doubt. The city is beautiful. There's a million ways to spend your free time and a lot of things to visit. There's a lot of history there, too. The university I went to was private. The ISMA. I recommend it 100%. The professors are very competent and they help you with anything that they can.
What is the food like?
They have soups. Lots of soups. They are very rich. There's a lot of them, but they're delicious! :)
Did it cost you to find your accommodation in Riga?
No. At the beginning I was in a residence. The PRIMA. It was great, only it was a bit far from the centre, but very close to the university. After that, I moved to the centre, into a very cute little flat.
How much does it cost to live in Riga?
It's pricey. Around 250 Latvian lats per month, but that cost includes everything.
Is the language easy to get to grips with? Are there language courses available at the University?
Latvian? It's impossible. English is the second language. Everyone speaks it there. So if you want to improve your English and learn Latvian as well, this is your city.
What's the easiest or most economical way to travel to Riga from your city?
By plane. Flying with Ryanair, the flight isn't direct. It's annoying but it'll get you there.
Where would you recommend for a night out in Riga?
This is my favourite part. Moon Safari. French bar. Pulkvedil (or something like that), Essensial. Donegan. Kiwi... there are loads of places. My favourite is Moon Safari, I've left here with really good memories. The waiters are really nice.
And to eat in Riga? What were your favourites?
Lido and Donegan's.
What good cultural sites are there to visit?
The historic central is beautiful. The concentration camps in the different towns and Jurmala.
Is there any other advice that you could give to students going to Riga in the future?
Be careful with the dates of your flights. There are days when it snows a lot and they cancel the flights. Take some good boots and coats for the snow. Careful with the ticket inspectors on the buses. You don't have to validate your card next to the driver like you do in Spain. You can get on at any door and tap your card at the detector, they're found throughout the bus. It's very cheap, but I'm sure, like good Spanish people, you'll try to be stingy haha. At any moment the bus could stop and the ticket inspectors get on and if you don't have a validated card, they will fine you and kick you off the bus. So be careful! ;)
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