WHAT TO DO
Especially from the beginning, for an Erasmus student in Riga it is very important to follow Riga Erasmus Group (Esn Riga, here it is their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ESN.Riga?fref=ts) that organizes a lot of afternoon activities, trips and night parties.
I strongly advise to take part to their trip to Lapland (click here if you want to know more about it), to the Welcome party (two days in a two floors house outside of Riga, with sauna and music for all the night) and at the Esn Battle (click here of you want to know more http://www.esnseabattle.org/ ).
Anyway, in this website you can find the main events in the city http://beta.inyourpocket.com/riga/Riga-calendar-of-events_70956f.
In order to practice some sports, I advise to ask to the international office of the university where you are going to study.
Nightlife is one of the most important Erasmus parts, and in Riga there is a big choice of night bars and clubs, where usually beer is cheaper than in a lot of other European countries.
Below you can find the list of my favorite locals. Each one is located in Old Town, with free entrance.
– Alabar, Peldu Iela (street) 19: it is the best pub of the city, very characteristic and full of peolple on Friday and Saturday evening. There is tasty and quite inexpensive beer, good food and usually also live music (Latvian folk music or rock music).
– French bar, Mazā Monētu iela 8: it is the Erasmus students favorite local because of the very low prices of beer (1 euro) and alcoholic cocktails (3 euros !!)
– Rock caffè, Mārstaļu iela 2/4: it is one of the best locals and it has 3 floors: you can find rock music in the first one, pub in the ground one and karaoke and rock music in the underground one. During week ends there are a lot of people until 7 a.m. !!
– Kiwi Bar, Skārņu iela 7: it is an international pub with medium prices and the possibility to watch the football games of the most important European first divisions.
– Pulkvedis, Peldu iela 26: it is a two-floor-night club located in front of Alabar.
– Kaļķu Vārti, Kaļķu iela 11: it is a good night club located in the main Old Town street.
– La Rocca, Brīvības iela 96: it is the only night club of the city where the entrance is not for free, it is located outside from the Old Town and it is worth to go there because it is the biggest night club. There are usually mainly Russian people.
LAGUAGES SPOKEN AND LOCAL PEOPLE
Riga is a great destination for those who want to improve and practice English because the university courses for international students are in this language and usually local youngsters can speak it pretty good.
Nearly everyone who is over 30 years old can speak also Russian, that is why Riga is a convenient destination also for those who want to learn this language.
Latvians are, of course, the main ethnicity, and Russians make about 40% of the city population. People are usually polite and quite reserved.
Once arrived there, I would suggest to buy a local phone card, the cheapest company is “BITE”.
Anyway, since Latvia has the most developed Wi-Fi system of Europe, it will always be very easy to detect Wi-Fi signal for free in the city center.
To sum up, Erasmus in Riga means a lot of fun, the possibility to improve your English, to discover the fascinating Latvian culture, and living expenses are slightly lower than in a lot of other European cities!