Latvia is a compact country where beaches are in easy reach of historical towns. Latvia has untainted natural landscapes, fresh air and clear water around them. In addition to its capital, Riga, there are 6 other UNESCO world heritage sites in Latvia. There is no language requirement to go on exchange to Latvia, although motivation to learn Latvian is required.
Secondary school in Latvia is divided into university preparation schools (Gymnasium)and vocational schools. Traditionally, there is a distinction between Science and Liberal Arts classes in schools, but as an exchange student you can select subjects more freely. Lessons are from Monday-Friday, but at the Art, Music and Ballet schools, there are also school activities on Saturdays. Usually, the school starts at 8 a.m. and lasts till 3 p.m. There are a lot of after-school activities. You can choose from many kinds of sport activities, you can sing in a choir, play an instrument in the school orchestra or do folk dancing.
On average, there are 2 children per Latvian host family. Usually, both parents work full time. It is not very typical for young people to leave their parents early to be on their own, even though many of them have a job during studies. For an average Latvian family camping, traveling, bicycle or canoe tours are more appealing than comfortable trips abroad. Lately, tennis and windsurfing are getting more and more popular. Attending theatre plays, cinema, exhibitions and concerts are popular hobbies to many families. Most of the host families live in suburbs of cities, but it is almost a rule that every family has a property somewhere in the countryside. The tradition of picking mushrooms and berries in a forest once in a while is still alive in almost every family. It is not an everyday tradition for a family to go out for lunch or dinner; more often the family cooks and eats at home and those dinners have a special meaning in every family’s life. It should be remembered that Latvian mothers believe their main task is to make sure that her family and guests are never hungry.
YFU Latvia offers specialist programs in the following areas:
Music, Art and Ballet
Please contact YFU Australia for prices, departure dates and more information.
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