What country has beautiful forests, rivers and lakes, escentric cities and a fascinating and multi-ethnic culture? Latvia certainly has something for everyone, and no wonder its been called “Europe’s best-kept secret”. Found at the crossroads of Northern and Eastern Europe, Latvia has its linguistically and cultural influences by neighbors such as Lithuania and Estonia, while retaining its own distinct national identity and traditions.On top of that, university education is also cheap and affordable for international students
Tuition Fees and Living Cost
It might interest you to know that Tuition fees at Latvian universities vary depending on the institution, program, and where you’re from – for example, non-EU students usually pay more than EU/EEA and Swiss students. You should in general expect to pay €3,000-5,000 (~US$3,300-5,540) per year for an undergraduate degree. Understandably, programs such as dentistry and medicine are more expensive, costing up to €15,000 (~US$16,600) a year. At master’s level, most courses range between €1,700 (~US$1,900) per year for EU/EEA and Swiss citizens and about €3,700 (~US$4,100) for all other overseas students.
Cost of living in Latvia is considerably lower than in many other European countries. You’ll need to budget €5,400-8,400 (~US6,000-9,300) to cover everything including food (up to €250 per month), accommodation, travel and other personal expenses. Most Latvian universities have student halls of residence, which is likely to be the cheapest accommodation option. If you want to travel beyond Latvia to explore neighboring countries such as Russia or Estonia, you’ll of course need to budget more.
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How to Apply for Latvian Student Visa
Once a student has successfully enrolled and paid his fees, the university will inform him of what he needs to do next to gain a Latvian student visa and residence permit, and may apply for these on his behalf. Note that citizens of the European Union (EU) do not require a visa to study in Latvia, but will certainly need to obtain a residence permit within three months of arrival, which in most cases will be applied for by your university. It’s mandatory for all students to have health insurance which covers you for the entire duration of your intended stay.
Non-EU students will be required to apply for a visa and residence permit, and should apply for these in plenty of time before the course start date. Once accepted by a Latvian university, you’ll need to submit the required documents to your nearest Latvian embassy (you can search for yours here). Also if there is no Latvian embassy in your country, you should connect with your university for advice on how to proceed.
The usual documents you need to present for your Latvian student visa are:
- Completed application form
- Passport photo
- Original copy of passport
- Original copy of your study agreement, showing you’ve been admitted to a Latvian university
- Academic record
- Proof you’ve paid your tuition fees (provided by the receiving university)
- Bank statement showing you have enough funds to support yourself during your studies
- Rental agreement or guarantee letter from the university concerning your prospective accommodation
- Proof that you’ve arranged adequate health insurance
- Statement on fluorography or X-ray examination results
Life in Latvia
Latvia is a safe, welcoming country with an intriguing and varied culture. It’s known worldwide for its choral singing traditions (even the movement to gain the Baltic States’ independence was called ‘the Singing Revolution’) and folk singing is one of the national treasures, with the distinctive daina style dating back centuries. Latvians are also big fans of contemporary music, theatre, ice hockey and literature.
Another beautiful aspect of cultural life to enjoy while you study in Latvia is the many traditional and modern meals available, including brown rye bread, grey peas with bacon, beetroot soup, Janis’ cheese, debesmanna (a cranberry mousse) and more.
Read further to discover the main cities you could be based in if you study in Latvia
Universities in Latvia
Higher education in Latvia is generally split between academic and professional studies. Academic programs are designed to improve students’ independent research skills and provide a theoretical background to careers, while professional programs are more vocational, preparing students for graduate careers in the design or enhancement of systems, products and technologies, as well as preparing them for creative, research and teaching activities in their chosen field.
Latvian universities typically follow the Bologna system, offering three levels of study (bachelor’s, master’s and PhD). Most bachelor degrees take three or four years to complete, while master’s degrees are one or two years long. The academic year usually runs from September to June, with exams taking place in May and June.
The language of instruction at most Latvian universities is mainly Latvian, but there are a growing number of English-taught programs available, many of which are specifically aimed at foreign students.
Crux of the matter
In view of the lively city life in Latvian student cities and the affordable accommodation, international students with limited budget should seriously consider studying here. On top of that, university education is low tuition and affordable for domestic and international students.If you are interested in studying here, do well to reach out to their universities, connect with their admissions team and learn more. Equally important is reading google reviews of these schools from alums. All the best.
For more enquiries about admissions into universities abroad, send an email to Jonah@studyabroad365.com or call +2348125835476