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Study in Latvia

Latvia may be a small spot on the world map, but the hospitality, history, culture, adventure, and people will take up a big part of your heart if you choose this Baltic country as your YFU destination.

“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.”

– Sofia

+ More About Latvia

Sveiki! 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 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.

Latvia takes school very seriously, and has a well-structured education system. Latvia’s capital city of Riga is not only home to a vibrant music life, but also to the oldest school in the country: the prestigious University of Latvia. Latvians enjoy outdoor activities such as canoeing or bicycle touring – you may also find yourself out at a gripping windsurfing expedition with host siblings and friends. You’ll even improve your basketball skills, as basketball is the third most popular sport in Latvia.

+ Scholarships Available

YFU USA is proud to send over 200 American students on cultural exchange with a full or partial scholarship each year. Financial assistance may be in the form of a merit-based scholarship, needs-based financial aid, or Legacy Grant for students who are previously involved in the YFU Community. Scholarships may vary in deadline, requirements, and eligibility. To learn more, please visit our Scholarships Page to find details on the following scholarships eligible for Latvia:

Holcomb & Farnell Foreign Study Fund
YFU Legacy Grant
YFU Financial Aid Fund
Karla Topolka Scholarship Fund
Passport to Equity

+ Application Deadline

Applications for tuition based programs must be submitted by April 1 for fall departures. Applications submitted after this date will be considered on a case by case basis depending upon availability.

+ Additional Information

Visa Information

Information about visas will be provided upon enrollment. To learn more about the process, you can refer to the Latvian Embassy.

Additional Costs

Program tuition does not include personal spending money.

Important Information

The application deadline for all winter and spring departure programs is October 1. The deadline for all summer and fall departure programs 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:

School

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.

Orientations

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.

*Due to COVID-19, the 3-day National Pre-Departure Orientation described above may take place on-line dependent upon recommended guidelines at the time of the event. YFU will continue to assess the situation as it develops.

Students will also attend a three-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 specializes 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.

PROGRAM DEPARTURE RETURN FULL TUITION
2024 Fall Year Late August Late June $11,495
2024 Fall Year Art Late August Late June $12,495
2024 Fall Year Music Late August Late June $12,495
2024 Fall Year Dance Late August Late June $12,495

Tuition Includes

  • 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

Age Requirement

  • 2024 Fall Departures: Students born August 24, 2006 – August 24, 2009.
  • 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.

Language

Russian and Latvian. Previous language study is not required.

Host Family Placement

YFU host families live in cities like Riga, Liepaja, or Ventispils.

+ Academic Semester 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:

School

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.

Orientations

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.

*Due to COVID-19, the 3-day National Pre-Departure Orientation described above may take place on-line dependent upon recommended guidelines at the time of the event. YFU will continue to assess the situation as it develops.

Students will also attend a three-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 specializes 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.

PROGRAM DEPARTURE RETURN FULL TUITION
2024 Fall Semester Late August Early January $10,995
2024 Fall Semester Art Late August Early January $11,495
2024 Fall Semester Music Late August Early January $11,495
2024 Fall Semester Dance Late August Early January $11,495

Tuition Includes

  • 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

Age Requirement

  • 2024 Fall Departures: Students born August 24, 2006 – August 24, 2009.
  • 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.

Language

Russian and Latvian. Previous language study is not required.

Host Family Placement

YFU host families live in cities like Riga, Liepaja, or Ventispils.

+ Academic Trimester 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:

School

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.

Orientations

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.

*Due to COVID-19, the 3-day National Pre-Departure Orientation described above may take place on-line dependent upon recommended guidelines at the time of the event. YFU will continue to assess the situation as it develops.

Students will also attend a three-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 specializes 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.

PROGRAM DEPARTURE RETURN FULL TUITION
2024 Fall Trimester Late August Late November $10,595
2024 Fall Trimester Art Late August Late November $10,995
2024 Fall Trimester Music Late August Late November $10,995
2024 Fall Trimester Dance Late August Late November $10,995

Tuition Includes

  • 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

Age Requirement

  • 2024 Fall Departures: Students born August 24, 2006 – August 24, 2009.
  • 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.

Language

Russian and Latvian. Previous language study is not required.

Host Family Placement

YFU host families live in cities like Riga, Liepaja, or Ventispils.