Around 1,200 Rigans to get free Latvian lessons

The Rīga City Council on January 9 started offering free Latvian-language courses for 1,200 locals. The demand for learning Latvian is high as most of the spots have been taken as of now. 

Latvian Radio reported Tuesday that the learning centers are located in central parts of Rīga as well as in neighborhoods like Pārdaugava and Pļavnieki.

Here's what the people had to say as to their motivation for learning Latvian.

"I want to become a citizen, to naturalize. Each language has its own difficulties, but what's most important is the willingness to learn the language. I want to stay and live in Rīga, so I'll definitely have use for the language. There's a chance to learn the language each year and it's important not to miss it."

"I saw an ad and decided to apply. My husband is Latvian and my child is speaking in two languages, that's why I should learn Latvian as well."

The courses are for students of different language ability, available to anyone who has declared his or her official place of residence in Rīga.

"These people are learning the language very actively, despite the common view that the environment is quite favorable for the Russian language and there's no need for Latvian," said Irina Vasiļjeva of the Education and Sports Department at the council.

Rīga has allotted €128,000 for the courses, which means that about 1,200 locals will have the opportunity to learn Latvian for free this year.

There are a few spots available for the courses that will be offered in the second half of 2017.

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