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University of Latvia

University of Latvia
Study for a semester through an ISEP or MAUI-Utrecht Exchange in the Baltic Region. Russian Studies program available.
Riga, Latvia
Language of Instruction: 
Academic Disciplines: 
Environmental Science
Political Science
Program Type: 
Semester or Academic Year

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 Summary: 

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

-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.

-ISEP 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.

Academic Information: 

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:

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:

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


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:

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. 

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. 

Life Abroad: 


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.

Host will provide arrival directions with acceptance packet.

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. 

Further Reading: 

ISEP: For more information, please contact Melody Stratton at melodystratton@ku.edu or visit 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 jmhunter@ku.edu 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. 



Deadlines Extended for Summer, Fall and Academic Year Programs.

See list of programs below:


Study Abroad Financial Advising

The Office of Study Abroad has weekly 'You Can Afford to Study Abroad' Financial aid and Scholarship Info Sessions/Open Meetings on Wednesday afternoons from 4:00-5:00 pm and Thursday afternoons from 12:30-1:30 pm in room 203 Lippincott Hall.  For those that can not attend the weekly Info Sessions, we also offer individualized study abroad financial planning as well as financial aid and scholarship advising for students.  Please visit 108 Lippincott Hall or call 785-864-3742 to set up an appointment.

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9th among public universities in the country for high quality, low cost study abroad programs — U.S. News & World Report
Longest-running exchange program in Western Hemisphere (begun in 1958) between KU and University of Costa Rica
18th in the nation among public universities for undergraduate participation in study abroad — Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange
28.5% of KU undergraduate students study abroad prior to graduation.
KU students who study abroad graduate in four years at twice the rate of students who do not study abroad
More than 160 study abroad programs in 75 countries, with instruction in all disciplines and 20+ languages
Students can study abroad for an academic year, semester, summer, spring break, or winter break
Programs include international study, internships, service, and research opportunities
Students participating in semester, academic year, and select summer programs fulfill Goal 4.2 of the KU Core curriculum
Students can fulfill major, minor, certificate, elective, and KU Core curriculum requirements abroad
Programs are available for students in every major at KU
Financial aid is applicable to study abroad programs, and most KU scholarships and grants can be applied to study abroad
The Office of Study Abroad and many academic departments offer scholarships to qualified KU students
By studying abroad, students gain a global perspective on the world and strengthen their career opportunities
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