This post is to tell briefly about my experience in Riga, Latvia as an exchange student. There are a couple things to note first:
- I am a Latvian native and coming from Riga
- I speak both of the languages used in Latvia
This might seem confusing at first ( you are definitely not the only confused soul I came across during my exchange experience), but I can’t express in words how eye-opening and stimulating it is to see your own country with the eyes of the foreigner (-ish).
With that being said, I would like to reward myself with an imaginary pat of the shoulder for taking part of every single event organized for us- exchange students. Yes, exactly, I did multiple guided excursions through cities, museums, schools and halls that I have wandered around at some prior point of my existence. I have learned about my own country and its components way more than during my first 18 years of life. The most eye-opening part was probably everything that was connected to the Latvian self-identity matters. I might have gained one on my own. My presence there did, however, confuse quite a bunch of people, therefore I chose to be a latvian-in-disguise later on. Trust me, if was for the sake of not going through the same 3 questions over and over again, each time with a new conversation mate.
Riga was stunning as always and I tried to take it in fully. My newly aquired eyes of an foreigner helped me to capture the unique beauty that the city holds better than ever before.
When it comes to my educational experience, I can probably describe it as, well, interesting. I have never encountered such level of organization and execution of learning procedures. But you know what they say- it is always easier to learn from mistakes and it is better if they are not made by you. This experience has made my expectations regarding an educational institution more clear and it will benefit in the future. There were some positive moments due to the same organizational chaos- I got to participate in a MBA level course and it was definitely the most qualitative and personally pleasing learning experience here.
Since Riga is conveniently located, it was easy to travel to other Baltic countries, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. The proximity was also influencing the international community in Riga. It was great to see more and more students choosing Riga as their study and travel destinations. I can assure each and every one of you- Riga nowadays is more global as ever and I can’t wait to see what improvements and innovations that it will encounter in the future.
I know one thing for sure- you don’t just live in Riga, you experience it!