Practical Guide
Student hostel

Exchange students are offered accommodation in the student hostel on Ausekla street 25a. As soon as your application form is received and approved, International Office will make a room reservation for you. All international students are guaranteed a place in a student hostel.

Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences offers only double rooms for its students (two students share 1 room). All rooms are fully furnished. A bathroom and toilet is shared between four students (two rooms). Several rooms share one kitchen equipped with cooking facilities. Most students prepare their own food in the kitchens at the student hostels; this will be slightly cheaper than buying your food at cafeterias and cantinas in Valmiera. If you prefer to cook for yourself, you can use the kitchens, however, the utensils for kitchens are not provided. These can be bought cheaply in the local stores. Bed linen is provided by the university and changed every two weeks. Exchange students live together with the local students and usually also share a room with a local student.

 

Student hostel costs

A place in a double room in the student hostel costs around EUR 90 per month, all inclusive. The hostel payment procedure will be explained during the orientation week: students need to pay for the first month during the first two weeks, and then in advance for next months by the 10th of previous month. Payments can be made by bank transfers, bank card or in cash.

Another possibility for accommodation is finding an apartment, but that is rather hard. International Office will provide assistance in finding the best solution for your stay.

In the application form you should mark if you have special needs that we should consider regarding the accommodation.

You can view the pricing information here.

 

Student hostel's technical support

In case of any technical problems, you have to leave a note in a specially designated post-box on the first floor of the hostel, and the technical worker will take care of the problem. In case of any problems, you can also contact the student hostel assistant or your mentor.

Full-degree students staying for more than 1 year, have to apply for the place in the hostel for the 2nd year. You have to write an application in a free form to the Administrative Department (room C-201), indicating if you wish to stay in the same room or if you want to stay in a room with your roommate.

University Premises

There are two buildings where lectures can take place:

Building at Cēsu Street 4 is the main building of Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences. In the left wing of the building you can find the offices of the Rector, Vice-Rectors and other administrative staff. International Office is also located there - 2nd floor, room C-203. The Deans and the academic staff of the Faculty of Society and Science can also be found here. There are lecture halls on the first, second and third floors. The Integrated Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences and Valmiera Central Library is located in the central part of the building.

Building at Tērbatas Street 10 is where the Faculty of Engineering is located, including all the laboratories and technical units.

To see all the university buildings on a map, see here.

Transport

Bus

You can use a bike, a car or the local bus or take a taxi. The local bus company VTU runs a bus service from 4 am until midnight. Local bus traffic is rather good during working hours and early evening, but in the early morning and late evening the traffic is rather infrequent. The buses do not operate between midnight and 4 a.m. The bus schedules can be found at the bus stops or on the internet.

A single ticket costs 0,60 EUR. Tickets can be bought on the bus. Students can get a monthly ticket for bus services with a 50% discount. It takes about 12 minutes to get to ViA main building from the student hostel in Ausekļa street by bus and about half an hour if you walk.

 

Taxi

You can go straight to a taxi if you see it or order it by phone. The usual price for a ride in the territory of Valmiera is 3-5 EUR (depend on the distance).

Some taxi phone numbers:

+371 80008000

+371 80002121

+371 80000221

+371 80001616

Money and cost of living

Money and Banks

Since 2014, the official currency in Latvia is Euro (EUR). If necessary, you can exchange your currency in banks. The main banks in Valmiera are all located on or close to the main  street - Rīgas street. The usual opening hours for the banks is 8:00 -17.00 on working days.

All the banks have cash machines where you can withdraw money 24 hours a day. ATM’s are found outside banks, in the main shopping centers and gas stations. Major credit and debit cards are also widely used. Look for the sticker outside the bank or shop to find out which cards are accepted.

If you open an account in a Latvian bank, you can handle your money affairs online.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Valmiera can seem rather inexpensive for students from other European Union countries. In table below you can see some average prices of products and services in Valmiera:

      

 Rent of room in dormitory per month

Lunch at cafeteria

Lunch at restaurant

Bus Riga - Valmiera

Local bus ticket in Valmiera

Course literature per month

Theatre ticket

Cinema ticket

Swimming pool - 40 minutes

1 litre of milk

1 loaf of bread

Average student's expenses per month

      

 ~ 90 EUR

2,50 - 3,50 EUR

7 - 10 EUR

4,75 EUR

0,60 EUR

7 EUR

12 - 15 EUR

5 – 6 EUR

~ 3 EUR

1 EUR

1 EUR

~ 300  - 400 EUR 

Insurance and health services

Insurance

You should obtain a valid health insurance policy before you come to Latvia. In case you need a medical service, you will have to pay for it yourself, but you will get these expenses reimbursed from your insurance company.

EU/ EEA citizens should obtain the European Health Card before coming to Latvia. However, this card will only provide emergency help and other medical help on the same terms as for local citizens.

Health Services

For non-serious illness and to by medicines you can ask a pharmacist in the pharmacies in the city.

If you have a medical problem, you can get in touch with Vidzeme Hospital in Valmiera or one of the many private physicians working in the city. The regular charge for a visit to a physician is 10 - 20 EUR. Many physicians do not speak English, so before visiting a doctor ask International Office for a recommendation.

Emergency phone in case of medical problem: 03 or 112

Students with Special Needs

If you have special needs, you should mark this on your application form. The International Office will get in contact with you to agree on special requirements to make your stay comfortable.

Telephone

There are several mobile phone operators in Latvia offering a variety of services. You can buy a prepaid card for your mobile phone choosing from the offered services: Amigo, Zelta Zivtiņa, Okarte, BiFri etc. The pre-paid cards can be bought in Narvessen shops, Plus Punkts kiosks and other places, supermarkets.

If you need to know a regular phone number or some other information, you can call the information service at 1188.

Emergency calls

The following numbers can be called free of charge from any phone or cardphone:

01

Fire Station and Rescue Service 

02

Police

03

Medical Emergency

112

Emergency number - you can call from mobile phones if you have any emergency

Post

If you want to send a postcard or a letter, you can do so at the nearest post office, located at Riga street 34 or Stacijas street 1.

The prices of postage differ according to the destination. Usually it takes up to three days for a letter to reach its addressee within territory of Latvia; a week for letter to an addressee living somewhere else in Europe and up to two weeks if the destination is outside Europe. Postal services are reliable and you can be sure your letter/postcard will reach its destination.

If you want to have mail sent to you during the studies, use the following address (and pick up your mail at the administrators desk in the main building):

Your name
International Office
Vidzemes Augstskola
Cēsu Street 4
LV-4201 Valmiera
LATVIA

You will be informed by email if there is a letter or a package received on your name.

Safety

Valmiera can be considered a rather safe place; however, you should always observe the personal safety precautions.

  • Do not carry your passport with you - it's not necessary.
  • Carry your purse or wallet with you at all times when you are in school or library. Do not leave your money, laptop or any other valuables in the classroom or communal areas.
  • If you are going out late at night, tell someone where you're going and try to arrange to travel home with a friend.
  • Use the pedestrian crossings to cross the streets but don’t always expect drivers to stop. Follow all stop lights.
  • Use reflectors in the dark hours of the day. There is a fine for not wearing it.
  • Use bicycles with great caution. Make sure your bicycle has some reflectors, and it is recommended to wear a helmet.

Please be aware of the law in Latvia:

  • The minimum age to buy or drink alcohol is 18. Shop assistant may ask your personal ID to prove your age. You cannot buy any alcohol in shops after 22:00 in Latvia.
  • It’s not allowed to be in public places (street, park) with an open bottle of alcoholic drinks (incl. beer).
  • It is illegal to smoke in all public places (incl. dorms).
  • Possession and/or use of all illegal drugs is a criminal offence.
  • You must have a valid ticket to travel on any public transport. You will be fined if you do not have one.
Useful contacts and links

Here is a list of additional resources, which might be helpful in preparing for studies or while studying in Latvia:

​International Office

Phone: +371 64250853
Mobile: +371 22042022
E-mail: international@va.lv

As a regular rule, the e-mails of the university students, teaching and administrative staff consists of name.surname@va.lv