Latvia is located in the Northern part of Europe. One of the Baltic states, a sister to Lithuania and Estonia, it is known for its forests, local culture, and dishes that represent centuries of culinary tradition. Being a relatively small country with a population of fewer than 2 million people, Latvia stands as one of the cheapest European countries when it comes to the cost of living and studying. Thus, it is easier for international students to study in Latvia for free. A selection of affordable universities is the compelling reason to choose the country over many others to receive higher education.
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How to Study in Latvia for Free
1. Check the Requirements
If you are considering studying in one of the Latvian universities, the first factor you must pay a solid degree of attention to is the requirements of the selected school. These depend on your place of origin, so you must check your eligibility before you submit the papers.
Main points of interest include health insurance, the ability to apply for a student or a long-term visa, etc. Research the information online well before the application submission.
2. Prepare Your Application in Time
If nothing is holding you back, you can start to work on the paperwork. Collect all the required documents, check and double-check everything. It is quite an often occasion for the applicant to make a small mistake or forget to include some minor document into their submission. While a minuscule mistake, it may lead to a delay in the application process or even outright refusal of admission.
Do not forget that not only the tidiness and organization of the paperwork matters but also the quality of the data provided. You must have high scores and splendid examination results for you to get any substantial scholarship, which will help you to study for free in Latvia.
3. Research Available Scholarships from Universities in Latvia and Governments
Most Latvian universities provide a wide selection of scholarships. According to the University of Latvia homepage, the applicant may choose to pretend for patron, state-funded, Latvian state scholarship. Some of the programs are limited to the citizens of certain countries, so it is up to the applicant to check and confirm if they are eligible for a stipend. On top of the previously mentioned financial aids, Latvia actively works with the EU to provide additional funding for the students who attend local universities. If you want to study in Latvia for free, getting these scholarships will definitely be a way to do that.
4. Apply for a Stipend
The monetary support is not limited to scholarships, though. If you are accepted by a Latvian university to study on a tuition-free basis, you can also apply for a stipend. The amount ranges, but most of the educational institutions will pay up to $250 per month, which may be sufficient enough for you to cover such costs as the cost of transportation, rent, incidental expenses, and so on. The students attending Latvian universities are often encouraged by the faculty staff to submit paperwork and attempt to receive the stipend. Typically, the Dean’s office reviews all the applications.
5. Seek out Financial Help Elsewhere
The monetary support available to those who seek higher education in Latvia is not limited, however, to the local opportunities. As a prospective student, you may try to apply for external funding to help you study for free in Latvia.
There are numerous organizations out there that provide financial help to students worldwide. Some of the organizations limit their scope only to graduate scholars, or to the citizens of third-world countries. It may take some time for you to seek out a sponsorship that will work for you, but as an applicant, you should attempt all the possibilities. A few organizations to consider would be the British Council IELTS Award and Go Digital Scholarship program.
6. Consider a Part-Time Job
You should also think about the possibility of you taking on a part-time job. There are plenty of temptations a student has to face throughout their life in the university. Parties, movie nights with friends, trips around the country, going on dates, etc. Of course, having a scholarship or a stipend helps to support yourself, but it may not be enough in some cases. Therefore, it is recommended to get a part-time job.
Latvian government applies no restrictions to the students who wish to work while they study in the country. The student is allowed to seek employment and receive payments. If you wish to study in Latvia for free, working while studying can definitely you in doing so.
7. Apply When Ready
When you have gathered all the required documentation, researched all the essential information and have made up your mind, it is the time to finally send out your application to the university of choice. If you have not decided on one specific school, feel free to forward your splendid resume to a few educational facilities.
Latvian universities are generally highly efficient in regards to their communication effort, so receiving a steady stream of replies and progress notifications should not be an issue. If there is a delay in the correspondence, however, feel free to send the institution an extra email.
8. Get Ready for the Trip
While the initial application may be daunting, it is the final step of actually getting on the plane and taking the flight abroad that scares the inexperienced most. That is why it is recommended to take your time and prepare for the day of the departure gradually. Have your luggage ready days in advance. Create a plan of how you will get to the airport, how will you travel from Riga to the city where the university is located at. Also, create a to-do list for your time in Latvia. The list may include such items as sightseeing spots, popular restaurants, etc.
9. Keep Track of Your Expenses in Latvia
With an average price of a dormitory room of around $50 per month, as well as relatively cheat Internet, mobile networks and foods, Latvia is not an expensive country to live in. A student shall expect to spend $400-500 per month, – even less if they choose to live outside the capital. It is still a good idea to avoid the attractions of the city centre if you want to save money. Also, try to make Latvian friends – undoubtedly, they will be happy to help you to locate all the cheapest shops and food outlets.
I hope that this article was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Europe Scholarships Page.