Learn Russian and fall in love with Riga!

Hi everyone! It’s Giulia once again! Today’s blog is about my experience of choosing to learn Russian in Riga and getting to know this beautiful city!

Before my graduation from the university, where I studied English and Russian, I was thinking to leave my country and move to Russia for some months so that I would be able to improve my Russian level. When I started looking for schools, courses and possible destinations to go, I was really upset because it was quite expensive and I had almost given up on this dream until I’ve learned about Riga.

„Do I know where it is? Do I know what it’s like? Have I ever heard about it?” - These were my questions but then I looked it up on the Internet and I felt in love as soon as I looked at Riga’s pictures....

 

Riga is the capital city of Latvia and its main district, the Old Town, is breathtaking and exciting. I was imagining myself walking through the little historical narrows, running along the bank of the Daugava River and wondering about the numerous parks. The Russian school that I booked to study made a good impression on me since the first talk and I wasn’t worried or stressed, just excited for this new adventure.

So, after a week from my graduation, I packed all my stuff and left for Riga. I have been living here for more than 4 months and I am still excited about it! First of all, even if I am not in Russia, here I have the chance to speak Russian anytime I want, especially when I go shopping in the central market located just a few minutes from the center of the city! I really enjoy buying fruits and vegetables, speaking in Russian with kind, old ladies that repeat me my purchase’s price 3 times (I always have problems with Russian numbers). Moreover, if I am not able to explain myself in Russian I can always switch to English because here locals also speak English.
Moreover, my listening skills have improved a lot because at the beginning it was difficult to understand if people in streets were speaking Latvian or Russian, but now I can distinguish every word in Russian so I think I have overcome this problem.

 

Riga isn’t so big but it has an amazing atmosphere and here you are safer than in the biggest European cities. In addition, Riga is the biggest city in the Baltic States. It has many pubs, discos, restaurants, bars, shopping centres, everything that a major city asks for! Another plus about Riga - an important factor, especially for young people: traveling! Yes, from Riga you can reach Vilnius (Lithuania) and Tallinn (Estonia) by bus; then you can travel by ferry and go to Finland or Sweden or Norway! And the best thing is that you can hear people speaking Russian there, too! I went to Helsinki and Tallinn during the last weekend and I spent no more than 50 EUR! It’s kind of shocking, right?

What else? Well, of course, Jurmala beach! In 30 minutes by train, you are in this little town, at the beach, very famous among Russian people! It’s like Latvian ‘’Saint Tropez’’. I go there many times because the ticket costs just 1,40 EUR (I would like to remind you that one ticket in Milan subway costs 1,50 EUR) and so I had the chance to see this very long beach covered by snow and by people! In winter it can be a scenario of „Into The Wild” movie, where you can see few people walking and doing sort of meditation, while in summer it seems like a spring break party! Volleyball, football, swimming and other sports - people here know how to have fun! Moreover, in summer here the sun vanishes (sunsets) around 11.30 PM from June on! Come on, who wants to come now?

 

If I start thinking that I have just a few weeks left here I can cry all day long! Here I have met a lot of new friends, especially international students from the Erasmus program! I have been smart and I looked for Erasmus events that I joined and enjoyed, too! I The school where I studied and now work, has always been so nice and kind towards me and others, it helped me a lot during the first days when I wasn’t able to explain my problems. I love staying here and, mostly, that I have the chance to speak different languages. For example, sometimes, I start speaking English but suddenly I switch to Russian! It’s really funny.

Give Riga a try and I hope that this city will become your next destination!

 

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