I chose to study in Riga because I had never been to the Baltics. I’d read that Riga has the highest percentage of Russian speakers in the region. I didn’t know what to expect before coming, but I was amazed! There is so much to do here and I’ve learned so much in such a short time. I’ve also been able to develop my speaking skills.
It’s tough to pick one thing! I love walking everywhere, so most days after class I explore the city by foot. I usually end up in a café to do my homework.
I find developing Russian vocabulary very fulfilling to learn. After a certain point, you begin to develop a sense of how the language is built around its word constructions. It’s like a puzzle; so many words are built off each other. Even if you aren’t sure exactly what a word means, you can likely figure it out by comparing it with words of a similar root.
Riga truly offers a terrific immersion experience. So many people here choose to speak Russian conversationally. There’s never been a shortage of people to talk to! Whether I am at the Central Market, a restaurant, or even the movie theater, I’m able to develop my Russian speaking skills. I enjoy engaging with the local community. In addition to the Russian language experience, Riga has such a rich culture and history.
I love how much we speak in class. In class in the US, I’d done a lot of reading and writing but not as much speaking. Every day in class we have natural conversations. This helped me to develop confidence in speaking. It’s also made thinking in Russian a more natural process for me.
I’m not exactly sure why, but I love the word “самостоятельность” (“independence”). Ever since I learned it in class, it has stuck in my head!
-Catherine, USA, July 2022