Following the war launched by Russia, around 70 Ukrainian refugees applied for the status of guest students during the spring semester at the University of Latvia (LU), but at that time only around 10 started studies. Around 40 Ukrainians, half of whom have already entered into contracts, have shown interest in the autumn.
LU spokeswoman Jana Saulīte said: "We can offer a number of programs in English because Ukrainian students can unfortunately not enrol in study programs in Latvian. They can study in the English program which also includes European languages and business studies, and cultural and social anthropology programs, where budget seats are also available. From applications still in the process, most choose computer science or business management because they can also study in English."
Māris Ginters, a representative of the Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU), said that five Ukrainians have already enrolled and there is no clarity about some more. In total, RSU registered applications of 30 Ukrainian potential students in various medical science programs, as well as several hundred additional emails from Ukraine showing the interest of young people in studying here.
Ginters said: “More are those who have studied dentistry or medicine in Ukraine in years 1, 2 or 3. [..] There is a different education system, respectively, but we have had experience with students from Ukraine and we had relatively easy understanding what it is that they have sent out. We also had concerns that individual students may not have documents because, for example, there is no longer a university physically in Kharkiv, but we have to say that we don't have any students who don't have any papers.”
Vidzeme University College spokeswoman Daina Ezertēva said that several children of Ukrainian asylum seekers have applied for studies, who have completed secondary school in Latvia after the beginning of the war, so they may also apply for budget seats. At the same time, there are also applications from young people still living in Ukraine. All programs are available in English at master's and doctoral level, while at the bachelor's level there is only the information technology (IT) study program for which there is a major interest.
Some Ukrainian students already have the required English-language knowledge certificates, and some are passing their entry examples. Similarly, the Law of Higher Education determines that any foreign student has to study the Latvian language at the university for at least 20 weeks.
Most higher education institutions already received young people from Ukraine last year, but their status during their studies was the same as an exchange program for students. At the moment, however, the reception rules have been adapted so that people from Ukraine can study effectively.