Students in Daugavpils: We're not removed from rest of Latvia

Take note – story published 7 years ago

On a visit to Daugavpils - Latvia's second largest city - on Tuesday LSM talked with students at the Daugavpils University about misconceptions people from elsewhere tend to have about the eastern Latgale region, and about problems the city is facing. 

Diāna, a physiotherapy student

– Is there more to do in Rīga than in Daugavpils?

– There are much more people in Rīga, and there are more places to spend time in. And the sea.

– Could you highlight some problems the city is facing?

People here are angry as there's little work here and everyone is leaving.

I think that it's one of the problems - that people want to live well here but they can't.

And it's a problem, and a problem for people too as their friends and family leave, and some people remain here all alone. They should offer jobs, maybe not high-paid ones but rather any job for whatever salary. That'd be good too.

Aļona, a literature Ph. D.

– Is it hard finding a job in Daugavpils?

– It depends. Of course, there are more opportunities in Rīga. But if you look, you'll find it here.

– What are the some of the misconceptions about Daugavpils?

– Maybe they think that we're not developing that well, that we're removed from Rīga and the life of Latvia. However if we look at projects and events in reality, [we have] theater, events at the Mark Rothko Center, we had guests from Slovakia in Daugavpils recently and now the Nordics... that's why we're not removed from the life in the rest of Latvia.

We are trying to walk the same road as our country, on our own. 

– Could you highlight some of the problems in Daugavpils?

– Sadly young people are moving abroad, and not all remain here even from those who finish bachelor's and master's programs.

[However] I'm glad when I can meet my friends who go to Rīga and finish [their studies] there. Afterwards they come to their own home, to Daugavpils - from Rīga or from foreign countries - and try working here, perhaps partaking in some projects, writing [projects], which is very popular and in demand now. 

(Aļona went on to mention her cousin, who had finished studies in Great Britain and returned to Daugavpils, as an example of what she personally sees as a tendency of people returning to the city.)

Ivars, an IT student from Krāslava

Do you intend to work in Daugavpils upon graduation?

– If I do graduate, I think [I'll work] in Rīga. But while I'm studying [I'm planning on working in] Daugavpils. 

– Misconceptions about Latgale?

– I think everyone considers Latgale to be the countryside with many Russians. However there are not that many Russians and people know Latvians as well.

As for [it being] the countryside, it's not like the countryside as Daugavpils is the second largest city. And Krāslava, that's a nice city.

In 2013 about 90 thousand people lived in Daugavpils. There are about 2,200 students at Daugavpils University, of which about 100 are foreign students, rector Arvīds Barševskis told LSM.

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