Seven universities from the country have opened a study centre in Chennai.

A country along Northern Europe, Latvia is one of the Baltic Nations that has joined the bandwagon of exotic and culturally rich locations for students to pursue higher education. In a recent bid to promote international students and encourage Indian students to pursue higher education in Latvia, the Study in Latvia Centre was launched for the first time in India at Chennai on January 31, 2014. Founded by seven leading Latvian Universities - Riga Technical University, Turiba University, Liepaja University, University of Latvia, BA School of Business and Finance, Latvia University of Agriculture and Riga International School of Economics and Business Administration, the centre is located at Nungambakkam.

Claimed as one of the fastest growing economies in the European Union in 2011, Latvia offers a lot to students in terms of education. With promising business sectors such as metalworking, transport, energy sector and more, Latvian universities boast of more than 950 educational programs. During the launch of the centre, Professor Leonids Ribickis, Rector of Riga Technical University emphasised about Latvian higher education and the vast opportunities it offers. Dr. Igor Tipans, Deputy Rector, Riga technical University said, “We are a part of the European education space. Latvia has had successful participation in big scale science and research projects. We offer popular courses such as Information Technology and also niche areas such as medical physics and avionics.” The fifth country from the European Union to opens its doors to Indian students, Latvia offers three levels of higher education programs- Bachelor, Master and Doctoral. Latvian education, Dr. Tipans says is not just about academic knowledge but also about the melange of cultures and about promoting the international spirit. Housing more than 100 Indian students currently who are pursuing their higher education there, India ranks second in the number of expatriate students. A majority of Indian students are from South Indian states such as Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh, and hence the decision to open the centre at Chennai. Latvia also receives students from Korea, Singapore, Germany, France, Italy, Turkey and other countries.

Tuition and accommodation fees play a major part in determining a student’s choice of education destination. Dr. Tipans observes that the cost of studying in Latvia is much lesser compared to other European nations. “The tuition fees is relatively low,” he said. “The cost of living for students is affordable as well, approximately amounting to 500$ a month.”

Employment and research opportunities are aplenty as Zane Purlaura, Deputy Director, Foreign Student Department, Riga Technical University, pointed out. Scientific fields such as materials science, bio medicine, pharmaceutical and forest science are high priority areas which are being explored by students. Students can also avail scholarships for their higher education in Latvia. The tie up between the Government of India and Latvia will pave the way for Indian students’ eligibility for the Latvian government’s scholarship.

Having partnered with VIT University, Vellore, plans are on for tie-ups with other institutions as well. Quizzed on the centre’s future plans to promote Indian students’ interest to study in Latvia and Zane replied, “Establishing partnerships, executing cooperation projects and faculty visits will be our main objective.”

Applications to study in Latvia are open till February 27, 2014. For more details, call 91 7601944794 or visit their centre at No.18, 2nd floor, Lokesh Tower, Kodambakkam High Road, Chennai-600034, website: www.studyinlatvia.in