Study in Latvia
“Many people ask me: Why Latvia? Honestly, I still don’t know the answer, but I am so glad I made that choice! I lived with a host family (mom, dad, and sister) and attended a local music school. For not knowing a single word of the language, I somehow made it work; but there were definitely struggles along the way. The friends are lifelong and the memories are forever.”
+ More About Latvia
Sveiki! Do you want to experience the European art and music scene? How about trying your hand at basketball? In Latvia, you can do both! Latvia may be a small spot on the globe, but the unmatched hospitality, deep history, rich culture and fascinating adventure will take up a big part of your heart if you choose this country as your destination.
The culture of Latvia has been and remains a central symbol of national identity, strongly influenced by the country's many previous inhabitants and its present day neighbors. Now independent of the Soviet Union, Latvia’s theatre, choir music and classical music are leading examples of this rich culture. The diverse music is a great example of the blending of the old and the new, which can be witnessed at many song and dance festivals. You can listen to a variety of music in Riga, Latvia's capital city and the center of its musical life.
The country of Latvia takes school very seriously, and has a well-structured education system. Latvia's capital city, Riga, is not only the center of entertainment, but also home to the oldest school in the country: the prestigious and esteemed University of Latvia. However, don't worry - although your education will be taken seriously, you'll still have plenty of time for fun!
For vacations and pastime, Latvians enjoy outdoor activities such as canoeing or bicycle touring. You may also find yourself out at a competitive golfing tournament or a gripping windsurfing expedition with host siblings and friends. Attending plays, movies, exhibitions, and concerts also make enjoyable family and social outings. Surprisingly, basketball is the third most popular sport in Latvia. When your Latvian friends hear that you're from the United States, they'll be sure to ask you to shoot some hoops! Even if you don't play now, you can improve your skills there!
Latvia is a place of song, dance, and customs like no other that will keep you wanting more! If a blend of sports and arts sounds like a good fit, then Latvia is the country for you!
To learn even more about Latvia, we recommend:
- Visit your local library to find reference books, travel guides and essays, language dictionaries, and many more country resources
- Use an internet search engine to find informative web sites
- Embassy of Latvia in Washington, DC web site
+ Scholarships Available
Scholarships for 2020 programs have not yet been confirmed. Applications for 2020 Summer/Fall scholarships will open in the Fall of 2019. The YFU Financial Aid Fund can be applied to any program and will remain available for 2020 Spring programs until September 15. The YFU Legacy Grant can be applied to any program at any time of application. For more details on the Financial Aid Fund, Legacy Grant, and previous merit-based scholarships please visit our scholarships page.
+ Programs & Tuition
Academic Year: $13,495
Art or Music Program Year: $14,995
Ballet Program Year: $14,995
Summer - Russian Language: $5,995
Applications for tuition based programs must be submitted by October 1 for winter/spring departure programs and March 15 for summer and fall. Applications submitted after this date will be considered on a case by case basis depending upon availability.
+ Additional Information
Information about visas will be provided upon enrollment. To learn more about the process, you can refer to the Latvian Embassy.
Program tuition does not include personal spending money.
The application deadline for all winter and spring departure programs (January-March) is October 1. The deadline to apply for scholarships is December 1. The deadline for all summer or fall departure programs (June-September) is March 15. Programs can fill up before the deadline, so we encourage early submission!
Choose Your Program
+ Academic Year Programs
During your time in Latvia you will live with a host family and attend a local high school. Part of your experience will be:
Schools in Latvia emphasize academic performance. The classroom atmosphere is formal and students are expected to treat their teachers with the utmost respect. Secondary education in Latvia is divided into secondary schools (university preparatory schools) and vocational schools. Secondary schools are known as vidusskolas (middle school). Most of these schools last for three years and students are required to take at least 12 subjects. You will take classes at the upper secondary level in a wide variety of subjects, including math, language, history, biology, social sciences, music, art, and sports. Some secondary schools, known as Gymnasiums, may specialize in a group of subjects such as math, physics and computer sciences, chemistry and biology, foreign languages and humanities, etc.
All students applying for this program must be available for a mandatory 3-day National Pre-Departure Orientation, which usually takes place in mid-July. This orientation is a required part of the program aimed at preparing students for their experience overseas. All students will participate in a one-day local pre-departure orientation in May or June.
Students will also attend a four-day arrival orientation and language course a few days after arrival. During this orientation, students spend three to four hours per day in language classes to gain a strong footing in Latvian prior to beginning school. YFU Latvia organizes a weekend trip to Tallinn, Estonia for a mid-year orientation, which takes place during the spring holiday weekend. In June, students have a departure orientation weekend to reflect on their experiences. All orientations costs are included in program tuition.
Special Interest Programs
Art and music schools have their distinctive places in the Latvian system of education. They are known for their high professionalism and classical schooling. In these schools, intense special instruction is combined with required liberal arts courses. There are strict demands on students, whether or not a professional career is planned, requiring the highest effort that the student is capable of giving. Students on the special interest programs attend the same orientations as those on the traditional academic programs.
Art: In art schools, students are taught the basics of classic art. They work in pencil, water and oil colors, and ink. Schools of applied arts offer classes in ceramics, textiles, wood, leather, glass, and metal work. Students applying for this program should have at least two years of experience in art and will need to provide a letter of recommendation from a previous art teacher.
Ballet: Students on the ballet program will be enrolled in a local high school and a local professional ballet school. Students will attend ballet classes at least 2-3 times each week. Students are required to have at least two years of ballet experience, and should submit a statement from their ballet instructor or school verifying their experience.
Music: Students participating in the music program to Latvia attend either a high school that specialized in music or one that offers extremely strong extracurricular music options. In music schools, students receive instruction in voice, solfeggio, music theory and history, choral singing, plus piano and a second instrument, chosen by the student. Students have the option to play in the school's orchestra and sing in the choir. Students applying for this program should have at least two years of experience in music and will need to provide a letter of recommendation from a music teacher.
|Fall Year||Late August||Early July||$13,495|
|Fall Year Art||Late August||Early July||$14,995|
|Fall Year Music||Late August||Early July||$14,995|
|Fall Year Ballet||Late August||Early July||$14,995|
- Placement with a host family
- Enrollment in a local Latvian high school
- Airport transfers
- Domestic and international travel
- All pre-departure and post arrival orientations
- Pre-program support by trained YFU staff
- Support from a YFU Latvia Area Representative while on program
- Comprehensive insurance
- 2020 Fall Departures: Students born September 1, 2002 - July 31, 2005.
- Students who do not meet this age requirement or will graduate from high school before the start of their program will be considered for admission on a case-by-case basis.
Russian and Latvian. Previous language study is not required.
Host Family Placement
YFU host families live in cities like Riga, Liepaja, or Ventispils.