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Integrationsmaβnahmen Couple Learning Programme
Projektbeginn 01/09/2009


  • AGE
    • 18-25
    • Study migration
    • Newcomers
    • Students


    • Sprachkompetenzen
    • Kulturelle Aktivitäten und Vielfalt
Land Lettland
City / Region
Stadt Riga
Abstract (EN)

This project allows Latvian and foreign students studying in Latvia to come together. Students form pairs (one Latvian and one foreign student) and learn languages mutually. Students teach each other their language, cultural peculiarities, they meet in thematic evenings, spend time together, thereby using opportunities for cultural exchange.

Angelegenheit/Herausforderung und

The purpose of this project is the integration of foreign students into Latvian students’ environment by learning different languages in an informal atmosphere and getting to know each other’s culture. This initiative not only enables the exploration of other cultures, but also facilitates meeting other students of the same nationality, as the event gathers Latvian and foreign students from 3 different universities. The main idea was to make use of all the available resources in order to achieve common goals in studies, as Latvian is a compulsory course at the university for many foreign students. Moreover, many of them plan to stay in Latvia longer than for just one semester, which motivates them to use additional opportunities to practice Latvian language (or – in same cases – also Russian language). Unless they are travelling abroad, Latvians have limited access regarding their opportunities to communicate with people from other countries, which is why they use this opportunity to meet students who speak the foreign languages that the local students have learnt in schools, universities or that are self-taught. This way, Latvian students have the opportunity to learn new languages with the help of foreign students who participate in the project.

Wie funktioniert das?

The activities are announced at the beginning of a new semester, when potential local participants fill out forms to apply for a chance to participate in the project. Then the foreign students are selected, acquiring information of the foreign languages spoken by them. Following this step local students who want to learn foreign languages spoken by the foreign participants are selected, and pairs are created with one local and one foreign student. During the first meeting the selected participants get to know the program of the initiative as well as their companions whom they will henceforth meet individually. Every other Wednesday, all participants meet in order to engage in various social activities. Once per semester a trip somewhere outside of Riga is organised, so that the participants can explore a little bit more of Latvia.


30-70 people out of 100 participants attend the meetings. The thematic meetings cover various cultures and language learning. Evaluation questionnaires are filled at the end of each semester, when those who really liked the atmosphere, their partners in the initiative, organizers and activities are still engaged. However, often the pairs end their meetings earlier due to lack of time.


The available resources (funds, venue, coordinating staff, etc) are secured by each university’s students’ council. The problem of maintaining a large number of participants persists. There is an interesting observation about the activity of particular countries – Latvians dominate, other European students are the most required (Latvians predominantly choose to practice other European languages), therefore all of them are invited to be part of the initiative. However, the most active are students from Central Asia - most of them attend all meetings that on average gather approximately 50% local students and 50% students from Central Asia. But Latvians do not choose to learn their languages (due to the assumption that these languages are less useful than the knowledge of other European languages), and it has been observed that cooperation between Latvian and Central Asian students is limited also due to different cultures and temperaments. The organizers are proud that this project not only gathers Latvians from 3 different universities and environments, but it also results in finding great ‘study buddies’ – while learning a new language with a student who masters this particular language perfectly or it is his/hers mother-tongue the progress is achieved much faster than in the cases when an individual learns the language all by him/herself. When the process of organising the couples starts, organizers ask participants about their interests and hobbies to create better matches. As leaving the matching to participants themselves is too chaotic, it is done by the organizers, on the basis of the information acquired from all potential participants (languages, interests, etc). The pairs are tasked to fill their individual meeting time with useful activities while learning the new language. The schedule of the semester is given during the first meeting, in order for the couples to be able to plan their meetings in advance. Carefulness towards a possible increase of number of the involved parties (participants, organizers) must be preserved, because in case of a large number of participants the main accent is on the quantity which inevitably reduces the quality – larger venue for meetings are necessary, and it is more difficult to involve all participants in activities.

Wer profitiert?

Latvian and foreign students from the University of Latvia, Riga Technical University and Riga Stradins University, although young people from other universities participate in the project as well. The goal is to achieve the participation of 100 - 150 participants every semester.

und benötigte Ressourcen

Each university’s students’ council allocates LVL 100 (EUR 140) from their budget, resulting in LVL 300 (EUR 430) funds for the activity. In addition, venues and human resources are secured by universities and their students’ councils. Human resources are the most important, as students are the ones organizing everything and the quality of the project depends on the quality of organisation. The organizers are approximately 12 people, with some working on public relations and coordination, others creating the content of the events, preparing home works for the pairs, and managing resources.

Organisation Student councils of University of Latvia, Riga Technical University, Riga Stradins University
Kontaktperson Elīna Rostoka (Email schicken)
Funktion Project managment and task coordination


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