Sveiki! Join our students as they remember their time in Latvia
From 4th to 15th of August 2021, we – that is Lorenz, Valerie, and Vanessa from the master programme International Business & Economic Diplomacy – participated in Turība University’s International Summer School in Latvia’s beautiful capital Riga.
For doing so, all three of us had received a full scholarship beforehand.
Venturing into the Baltic way of doing business
Under the motto “Business + Communication = New Normal”, Turība University arranged a perfect mix of lectures, practical workshops, study visits and leisure activities. The emphasis was on getting to know the Baltic states’ business environment, developing business ideas as well as discussing how firms can adapt their operations and communication strategies to the “new normal” in a post-pandemic environment.
To gain practical insights, we visited top-notch Latvian companies such as the Draugiem Group, an umbrella organization that owns several IT-companies, and a modern communication agency in the heart of Riga. Moreover, we enjoyed virtual tours of organic skin care giant Madara Cosmetics and cereal producer Graci. Finally, the programme was round up with a very interesting Q&A session with Latvian business entrepreneurs.
Getting to know the Latvian lifestyle
Besides the academic programme, no efforts were spared to bring us closer to the Latvian lifestyle, its people, culture, food, and traditions: We hiked a famous swamp trail in spectacular nature, relaxed at Jurmala beach, a beautiful white-sand coastline approximately 25 km west of Riga, and wandered around baroque Rundale palace and medieval Bauska castle close to the Lithuanian border.
Another trip took us to the Gauja river valley, a breath-taking national park with dense forests, a waterfall, and a mystic cave of which legend tells that anyone washing his or her face with water from the small creek running through it, shall be blessed with eternal beauty. The national park also domiciles a secret (or not so secret anymore) Soviet Bunker built in the 1980s for the state authority elite, that is now open for visitors and can even be booked for escape-the-room games.
International mindset at its best
However, our personal highlight of the summer school was the international evening the university had organized, on which one of the lecturers invited us to a garden party at her place and served us typical Latvian food she spent cooking all day. We tried on Latvian folklore costumes, danced folklore dances and each student introduced his or her homeland’s traditions, which gave us some good laughs.
In total, 10 students participated in the summer school on-site, and a colourful mix of countries was represented: Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and Ukraine. The programme turned out to be a wonderful opportunity to gain new friends from all over Europe and concrete plans for mutual visits have already been made.
To sum up, participating in the summer school was an amazing experience and we feel that we have benefited not only academically through sharpening our skills in the fields of leadership, digital marketing, crisis management and export, but also on a personal level through the people we met. Therefore, we can only sincerely recommend anyone going abroad and making one’s own unique experiences.