University of Latvia

Image of Latvia
Study for a semester through an ISEP or MAUI-Utrecht Exchange in the Baltic Region. Russian Studies program available.
Location: Riga, Latvia
Language of Instruction: EnglishRussian
Term: FallSpring
Program Type: Semester or Academic Year
Open to non-KU Students: No
Fulfills KU Core 4.2: No
Fulfills KU Core 5: No

ISEP and MAUI-Utrecht are total immersion programs. In most cases, ISEP and MAUI-Utrecht participants register as a regular student at the host institution, take the same courses and have the same assignments, and participate in the same activities as the local students at that institution. This means that a student applying for an ISEP or MAUI-Utrecht site must be more proactive and prepared to handle being in a location where they may be the only KU student in the program.

Program Type

  • -ISEP Exchange: undergraduate programs available for single semesters only
  • -MAUI-Utrecht Exchange: undergraduate and graduate students (certain disciplines) available for single semesters

Chance of Placement

  • ISEP Exchange chance of placement for US students is generally Good.
  • For the most current chances of placement, see the Sites Open for Applications for US Students
  • MAUI-Utrecht Exchange chance of placement for US students is relatively low. MAUI-Utrecht is only allowed to send 3 students within 2 semesters.

Program Dates

  • SEP semester exchanges only: 
    • Semester 1: Late August to late January 
    • Semester 2: Late January to late June
  • MAUI Utrecht semester exchanges only:
    • Semester 1: Late August to late January
    • Semester 2: Early February to early July

Latvia, on the Baltic Sea, shares borders with Estonia to the north, Lithuania to the south, and Russia and Belarus to the east. In territory it exceeds Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland. It is the central and strategically most significant part of the Baltic States, with a population of 2.5 million people. As a result of the intense Russification during the Soviet occupation from 1945 to 1991, ethnic Latvians make up only 56 percent of the population. Riga, its capital, was founded in 1201 and is by far its largest city; it is also one of Latvia's major ice-free seaports that handles considerable shipping to and from Russia.

ISEP Exchange

See ISEP Exchange:

The field especially recommended for ISEP students is the Baltic/Latvian Studies Program. It is taught in English and includes a Latvian language course. It covers Latvian literature and anthropology/cultural studies (focusing on Latvia); other topics include history and economics of Latvia and the Baltic region.

There is also a Russian Studies Program, taught in Russian (with some courses in English) and requiring Russian language proficiency.

Students typically enroll in 3-4 classes per term which averages to 20-25 hours in class per week. A term runs for 15-16 weeks.

Language Notes:

Most students take courses in English. Students may take Latvian and Russian language courses during the academic year as a part of ISEP benefits.


See: Courses in English

MAUI-Utrecht Exchange

See MAUI-Utrecht Exchange:

The departments of Humanities and Social Sciences are open to undergraduate exchange students, and the courses within these two departments are taught in English. The Computer Science, Chemistry, Optometry, and Medicine departments instruct in English, but these courses may not be open to exchange students through MAUI-Utrecht. Some Humanities and Social Sciences courses are available to graduate students through exchange. Graduate students may also enroll in Computer Science, Chemistry, Optometry, and Medicine classes as well. Undergraduate students can take graduate level courses, and graduate students can take undergraduate courses.

For more information, visit the Course Catalog.

ISEP Exchange:

Housing and Meals

ISEP students are housed in a residence hall and receive a stipend for their meals and accommodation.

Estimated Personal Expenses

You are responsible for all of your personal expenses including: optional fees (e.g. computer, language, science lab fees), books, local transportation, entertainment, etc. The amount below is provided as a guide; the actual amount needed will vary depending on courses and personal habits. Your personal expenses per month, including books, are estimated at: 500-600 USD.

MAUI Utrecht Exchange:

Housing and Meals

It is estimated that housing will cost around 300 EUR for a single room per month, and meals will cost around 300 EUR per month. UL offers two dormitories for students, but there are no campus meal plans. 

Estimated Personal Expenses

It is estimated that students will spend about 20 EUR on books, 25 EUR on transportation, and 50 EUR on health insurance. These are all costs per month. Other expenses will be based on what the student wants to spend money on. 


There will be a five hour session regarding the system of higher education in Latvia, the history of the University of Latvia, student activities, studies at the university, and social life. In addition, there will be tours around the university, the library, the museum, and computer facilities.

Arrival Details

Host will provide arrival directions with acceptance packet.

Student Activities

ESN-Riga (local section of the Erasmus Student Network) during each semester organizes different activities for foreign exchange students which include introduction week, trips inside Latvia and journeys to the neighboring countries, thematic evenings etc. ESN maintains as well the buddy system which helps exchange students to integrate in the Latvian society and offers opportunity to meet local students.


Under Russian rule in the 18th and 19th centuries, the Tsar’s offer to establish a university in Latvia was repeatedly rejected by the rulers in Riga, who feared that such an institution could become a breeding ground for opposition to the established order. The Latvian intelligentsia was educated mainly at the universities of Tartu (Estonia) and St. Petersburg. The first institution of higher education in Latvia, the Riga Polytechnic, was founded in 1862. The University of Latvia was established in 1919, when Latvia first become independent from Russia; it used the facilities and staff of the Riga Polytechnic. Total enrollment: 22,000 students in 68 study programs.

SAGE is dedicated to creating international engagement opportunities that meet the needs of all our students and providing resources to support you through the process of studying abroad. Study abroad is achievable for students of all identities including our BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ students, students with disabilities, and students with religious/non-religious viewpoints. Before selecting a program, consider how your identities may impact your experience abroad in unique ways and talk with your Program Coordinator about any program-specific concerns. Students with documented disabilities should discuss any accommodation needs with their Program Coordinator early in the planning process.

Check our Identity Abroad page and resources listed below for information specific to you and other students who may be on your program.

ISEP: For more information about ISEP, contact Kaitlyn Johnson at or stop by the Study Abroad Info Center in 105 Lippincott for Walk-In Advising.

ISEP website

MAUI-Utrecht: For more information, please contact Jenna Hunter-Skidmore at or visit the Study Abroad Info Center in 105 Lippincott for Walk-In Advising. 

MAUI-Utrecht Website

For more information regarding costs and deadlines, please contact the appropriate program coordinator.