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Choosing countries

April 14, 2010

Should I stay or should I go?

(The Clash)

By

Gunta Kursiša

Britta (24), a Baltic Philology graduate, has lived in Latvia for 3 years. Originally coming from Bremen, Germany, she wants to work and live in Riga.

“I would stay in Latvia for a longer time,” says Britta, who started to take interest in Latvia in high school, when she spent one week here. Britta participated in Europe Volunteers Program “Apeiron” http://www.apeirons.lv/?men=eng&p=22 and lived in Latvia for more 8 months. While a university student she applied for the Erasmus exchange program http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erasmus_Programme and lived in Latvia again for a year.

Song Festival, Līgo celebration, beautiful nature and old traditions http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1mi1z3RHUQ are things which Britta considers to be some of many reasons why she loves Latvia.

Jan (20), Erasmus exchange student from Czech Republic, says he didn’t choose Latvia accidentally. Latvian has a rich folklore and interesting history. Jan studied Latvian in Prague. He says he would love to move to Latvia after he graduates.

“Latvia is my second home now,” says Jan. “Latvians are friendly and helpful; they try to speak English and appreciate my efforts to speak Latvian,” he says. “Latvian language is small, but it is one of the official languages of the European Union,” stresses Jan.

Britta also speaks Latvian fluently now.

“I think Latvians have better taste in fashion than Czechs,” says Jan. “Latvian youth and Czech youth are similar; we both like sports, beer, and other usual things,” says the 4th semester student of International Area studies.

Jan and Britta say it wasn’t hard to make Latvian friends here.

Anna (23), a Latvia-born Russian, moved to Helsinki, Finland, after her Erasmus exchange program. “I think Helsinki is a great city, where higher education is free – and when I had an opportunity, I moved there,” she says.

“We can’t say there are a huge number of foreign students applying for the University of Latvia, but there are some cases, when students are interested in it. In the Sociology program, a girl from Germany, originally born in Riga, applied for our program,” says Aija Zobena, a sociology professor in University of Latvia

“The most interest for studies abroad from Latvian students is for Master’s and Doctoral programs,” Zobena says. “Our students get in to prestige Universities, which means the education level at the University of Latvia is high and not worse than in other European Universities,” says Zobena

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