The huge interest relates to both the fact that Ukrainian refugees living in Rīga can also apply, and the fact that this year approximately 20,000 Russian citizens who have previously had Latvian citizenship or non-citizen (nepilsonis, former Soviet Union inhabitant without citizenship of any state) status and who have not yet confirmed their language skills are required to pass a Latvian language exam.
The Mensarius study center in Rīga a week ago formed a long live queue of people who arrived in the morning to apply for Latvian language courses paid for by the local government. Residents declared in Rīga, as well as Ukrainian civilians staying in the capital, could apply for them.
The study center does not remember a time when the interest in Latvian language training would have been so great. People still keep calling and coming a week later.
“Actually, this was the first year we closed applications at noon on the first day,” said Linda Miezīte, chair of the center Mensarius board.
The highest interest is in level A2 language level. At this level, the language check should be carried out this year by 20,000 Russian citizens who have previously had Latvian citizenship or non-citizen status and who have not yet confirmed their language skills.
“At the moment we have over 150 applications from A1 to A2 levels. We also have a time the person applied. From 9 to 9:20 there are more than 50 applications,” Miezīte found.
Mensarius is just one of the places that organize learning. There are a number of them in Riga, and there is a very large interest in all of them.
“This time was the case when, indeed, in a few hours, the spring groups were assembled. And the spots were filled. It's 600 spots. Of course, this year there is also an interest by Russian residents who have to pass the exam by autumn,” said Irina Vasiļjeva, Rīga City Council spokeswoman.
Together, these courses will cost the Riga City Council more than €98,500. They are scheduled to start at the end of January.