During your time in Latvia you’ll have the chance to learn first hand all about the ancient and unique culture of Latvia, as well as the modern lifestyles of its people. Enjoy the beautiful Latvian landscape, with its numerous lakes, rolling hills, plains, rivers, and pristine pine forests. Take part in numerous folk festivals celebrating Latvian culture through dances, songs, and poetry and show off traditional Latvian clothing.

School is the centre of social life for teenagers in Latvia. Sports activities, like swimming, basketball or winter sports, are a common source of fun along with music, crafts and drama in the local community organizations. Latvia is well-known for its choral singing and folk dances. When the weather is nice, teens spend time outdoors, getting together with friends, going to parties, seeing a movie or just hanging out in the local cafe.

AFS Youth exchange in Latvia

Culture & Community

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You could be hosted anywhere around the country, with either a Latvian-speaking family or a Russian-speaking family. Either way you’ll have plenty of opportunities to learn both languages. Latvian families enjoy visiting their country cottages on the weekends and during holidays. Different generations often live together in the same household.


High school in Latvia runs from September through May, (Monday through Friday, 8 am to 3 pm). Public schools are either Russian-speaking or Latvian-speaking and you could be placed in either one depending on your host family. Some of the core classes include Latvian language and literature, history of Latvia and math. You will also choose from a variety of elective courses.


Latvian is the language of Latvia, which belongs to a Baltic branch of the Indo-European language family. There is a big Russian community in Latvia, which is why Russian is widely spoken. Latvian teenagers enjoy learning and speaking English and will help you learn Latvian. Having a basic knowledge of English will be helpful. AFS will also support you by providing language learning lessons and materials.


Mealtime is family time so make sure you’re home for dinner. Latvian food varies depending on the region. Holidays and seasons and often symbolizes traditions or beliefs. Meat and potatoes are a major part of the diet, together with pastries, smoked fish, dairy products, eggs and grains. Soups and sausages are also popular. In summer and autumn, fresh berry pies and tarts are abundant.

Explore the Programs Available in Lettonia