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It can be confusing which country to choose for your studies abroad. You will need to learn a lot about each of the possible countries and the educational systems before making a decision.That’s why PingmeStudyAbroad, the leading Europe study visa consultants has set up a useful guide about the top study abroad destinations
The Eastern European Republic Latvia borders Estonia, Lithuania, Russia, and the Baltic Sea. It is home to a population of just under 2 million inhabitants, a number estimated to decrease steadily over the next years. Latvia's healthcare system is among the worst-rated in Europe, however, life expectancy at birth and the fertility rate are on par with western standards. Still, Latvia is among the European countries with the highest death rates, reporting 14.4 deaths per 1,000 people as of 2015. Latvia has a free market economy which has been quite stable - and it recovered remarkably fast after the 2008-2009 economic crisis. In the years 2014 and 2016, the country reported dips in the GDP growth rate in an otherwise quite stable economic growth pattern. Due to the country's geographical location, the service industry - which includes the transportation and the electronics industries - is the most developed one and accounts for roughly three quarters of the country’s economy. This sector also employs the majority of the labor force, with approximately 70 percent of working people. Latvia's most important export and import partner is Lithuania, with a share of 17.3 percent and 16.9 percent of the market, respectively.
Formerly part of the USSR until May 1990, when Latvia declared their independence, the country became a member of NATO and the EU in the spring of 2004. In 2014, it joined the euro zone, and just a couple of years later it became an OECD member. Due to a large Russian minority living in the country, Russian is spoken by almost one-third of Latvia´s population in addition to Latvian, which is the official language.
Name of Country : Republic of Latvia
Size of area : 64,573 km2
Population (at the beginning of 2019): 1.92 million
Capital city: Riga
The Eastern European Republic Latvia borders Estonia, Lithuania, Russia, and the Baltic Sea. It is home to a population of just under 2 million inhabitants, a number estimated to decrease steadily over the next years. Latvia's healthcare system is among the worst-rated in Europe, however, life expectancy at birth and the fertility rate are on par with western standards. Still, Latvia is among the European countries with the highest death rates, reporting 14.4 deaths per 1,000 people as of 2015.
Latvia has a free market economy which has been quite stable - and it recovered remarkably fast after the 2008-2009 economic crisis. In the years 2014 and 2016, the country reported dips in the GDP growth rate in an otherwise quite stable economic growth pattern. Due to the country's geographical location, the service industry - which includes the transportation and the electronics industries - is the most developed one and accounts for roughly three quarters of the country’s economy. This sector also employs the majority of the labor force, with approximately 70 percent of working people. Latvia's most important export and import partner is Lithuania, with a share of 17.3 percent and 16.9 percent of the market, respectively.
An ideal Location
Riga is the capital city of Latvia and also the largest city in the Baltic State Region.
You might not have ever heard of Latvia, but you might have seen pictures of elegant men and women strolling arm in arm along the tiny streets of Riga, which is a mix of Russian glamour and elegant Art Nouveau boulevards!
Riga is a metropolis pulsing with life, romantic walks, live music and celebration. It’s a well preserved medieval city which still shows traces of its religious and Romanesque past and in 2014 was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for the uniqueness of its architecture in the “old town” and as one of the European Capitals of Culture.
Much of Latvia’s wilderness is similar to nearby Scandinavian countries. There are beaches, parks and forests, all of which are teeming with wildlife and perfect for exploring. Latvia’s low population density has helped retain the natural environment and make it the perfect spot for ecotourism and ethical travel.
About 25km west of Riga, the resort town of Jūrmala is made up of beaches, with the most amazing ice blue Baltic waters. It’s a quaint little village offering thermal waters, pine forests, and white quartz sand beaches.
All European cities have impressive architecture, but did you know that Riga has the largest collection of Art Nouveau buildings in Europe? Wander around and marvel at the work of Latvian architects of the late 19th/early 20th centuries on over 800 buildings. The main streets to view are Elizabetes, Alberta, Strelnieku, and Antonijas. One of the finest buildings is the 1904-built Riga Graduate School of Law at Alberta 13 and while there, you may as well pop into the Art Nouveau Museum at number 12.
Whether you prefer art nouveau, romanesque, gothic or baroque architectural style, you can find it all here.
Great Education System
In Latvia, there are both state-financed and fee-paying higher education. Public grants and scholarships are available for top students.
Latvia offers two levels of higher education programs – academic and professional (for example translators, bank staff, business lawyers, pilots etc.). University-type higher education institutions offer both academic and professional education, while the “non-university type” institutions provide only professional education.
Academic higher education in Latvia follows the Bologna system and is divided into three levels: Bachelor’s studies, Master’s studies, and Doctoral studies. A Bachelor degree takes three or four years, while a Master’s degree will take one or two years.
Only graduates holding a Master’s degree or equivalent higher education diploma may take up doctoral studies. These last three to four years, involving advanced studies, examinations and the preparation and defense of a doctoral thesis.
Great Culture and world-class cuisine
Latvia is not renowned for a world-class culinary tradition, but the food, influenced by German or Russian cooking, is simple, hearty and filling. Riga has an overwhelming choice of places to eat in all price ranges. Many restaurants now offer discounts and ‘happy hours’ to attract visitors, so eating in Riga shouldn’t be a problem any time of the day – or night.
As cities go, Riga is pretty peaceful. Touring the city on foot or by bike is a great way to get to know your way around, and there are lots of eateries on the way. Generally, the food is of good quality and extremely cheap. Beets are served up in every possible way imaginable, and a meal of baked salmon, beet salad and bread, followed by cake for dessert, in a cozy bistro will set you back around $5.00!
There are companies offering walking and cycling tours all over the city, or you can go it alone. Places worth visiting on the food trail are the Riga Central Market (especially the old warehouse – Maskavas iela – behind the fish pavilion) and Hospitalis, one of the newer attractions of Riga; a crazy hospital-themed restaurant where you can sit in a dentist’s chairs, be spoon fed while in a strait-jacket or have food served from trolleys by surgical instruments.
Make sure you visit the landmark buildings that used to house one of the biggest markets in Europe. The five enormous former Zeppelin hangars were converted into market halls in 1930 and have retained their traditional division into different types of food for sale.
Buy fish, meat, dairy, bread and vegetables inside and clothes, CDs and appliances outside. You might not pick up any exclusive fashion items or souvenirs, but a visit to the giant Bazaar will give you a feel for local everyday life.
The universities in Latvia have compulsory internship programs. This gives the foreign students the opportunity to contact the employers and they can apply for jobs. This in turn helps the students to convert their student visa to work visa.
Locals and language Travel
The language spoken in Latvia is Latvian, but most people speak English, often with an interesting mix of accents; American English, Swedish and Dutch. Oh, and they also have a warm sense of humour!
Pretty much every European capital city has an “old” part of town and a “new” part of town. Cities taken over by the Soviet Union were able to hold onto the “traditional look” mainly due to the lack of interest in changing it, and a lack of finance. These capital cities still retain the feel and look of centuries past, when royal or local aristocrats would probably chop people’s heads off, but would also walk the cobbled streets or ride across them and hunt for “spoil.”
If you’re looking to go to the Baltic States then of course you have to either go through Latvia, start in Latvia, or end in Latvia. It’s quite easy to get to as pretty much every airline in the Nordic-Baltic region does a stop-over in Riga, so you might as well stay for a few days.
Andrejsala used to be a very busy and important harbor, but since its decline it has been taken over by the creative contingent of Riga who have turned the old dock buildings and warehouses into artist studios and workshops, exhibition halls, offices for trendy businesses and party rooms. The cafes are always buzzing and there’s usually an event going on – which could be anything arty, theatrical, musical or electronic. Find a local person to find out what’s going on, or simply head on down and discover for yourself.
With over 40,000 (!) participants, it is recognized by UNESCO as World-class culture phenomena, while choir singers and conductors are celebrities in Latvia. Latvia also has one of the largest collections of traditional folk songs in the world, numbering over 300,000.
The Ventas Rumba in Kuldīga is the widest waterfall in Europe, and in spring you can see fish jumping up the rapids as they head for spawning sites.
The Latvian educational system comprises pre-school education, basic education, secondary education and higher education.
General education in Latvia in total lasts 12 years consisting of compulsory 9-years basic education and 3-years secondary education.
The Latvian higher education system is a part of the Bologna process, and follows the 3-cycle system:
In Latvia, tertiary education programmes are provided by:
The Law on Institutions of Higher Education makes a distinction between university-type and non-university-type institutions. While non-university-type institutions run professional programmes, universities often offer both academic and professional programmes.
Latvia is using a national credit point system in higher education. One Latvian national credit point is defined as a one-week full-time study workload. The average full-time workload of an academic year in most higher education programmes is 40 credits. The Latvian credit point system is compatible with ECTS.
The objectives of academic higher education are to prepare graduates for independent research, as well as to provide theoretical background for professional activities.
The objectives of professional higher education are to provide in-depth knowledge in a particular field, preparing graduates for design or improvement of systems, products and technologies, as well as to prepare them for creative, research and teaching activities in this field.
The duration of full-time studies is 8 semesters (4 years).
Duration of full-time studies is 2-4 semesters (1-2 years).
Entry requirements to Latvian Universities depend on the university, the type of program, and the level of competition to get into the said program.
Entry Requirements for Bachelor
|IELTS||minimum overall grade of 5.5|
|TOEFL iBT||minimum 61|
|TOFEL paper-based||minimum 530|
Entry Requirements for Master
|IELTS||minimum overall grade of 5.5|
|TOEFL iBT||minimum 61|
|TOFEL paper-based||minimum 530|
Some universities may require additional documents, such as:
Tuition fees for Latvian universities are relatively affordable compared to institutions from other countries in the EU.While the tuition fees in Latvia will vary depending on the chosen university and program, there is a recognizable difference in tuition rates between the local Latvian students and enrollees from other EU countries and Switzerland.Non-EU students are generally required to pay at an even higher sum than their domestic and EU counterparts.
Facts about Tuition Fees in Latvia
|Health Care & Medicine||€8,000 – 15,000|
|Business Administration & Management||€2,000 – 6,000|
|Engineering||€2,700 – 3,500|
|Computer Science||€1,800 – 3,800|
COST OF LIVING
While living costs in Latvia will depend on the city, type of accommodation and one’s lifestyle, everyday expenses in this Baltic state are still generally cheaper compared to many European countries. It is estimated that around €450 – 700 (USD$ 553 – USD$ 861) is enough to cover necessities such as food, transportation, utilities and accommodation for a month.
Applicant must prepare following documents for Visa Application
Applicants from India can schedule their appointment only after uploading documents on Hello Verify for verification. Provide all required details, Upload the mentioned documents and Make the Payment. Download your payment receipt and schedule an appointment with VFS.
Go to an official biometrics collection service point to Provide your biometrics and submit your Documents. It is mandatory to attend a visa interview through a Video Conference.Applicants from Kerala can attend biometric appointments in Cochin and Bangalore.
If a visa gets Approved Applicant will receive a visa for a duration of 90 days.Applicants need to apply for a Temporary resident visa 90 Days after entering into Latvia.
Latvia has a provision of international students to stay back in the country. The international students who are pursuing masters degree in Latvia are allowed to stay back in Latvia for the duration of six months once the study program is over. The students can opt for an internship in Latvia and have that ever valuable international experience, or they can seek permanent employment to elongate their stay in Latvia.
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