Baltic International Summer School participants are overjoyed about the stay with Latvian families

Valmiera (Latvia), August 9, 2008. – This year Baltic International Summer School started a new tradition – foreign student stays with Latvian families. The aim of the event is to introduce participants to Latvian culture and lifestile. After family evening, which was on August 5, foreign participants were amazed about the hospitality of local people.

Local families were entarteining participants with different activities in Valmiera and the region. The most popular were Latvian traditional dinner, sauna, picnics and small excursions around Valmiera, for instance, to Dikļu castle or nearby lakes. Conversations with families and culture exchange was very important. Participants were very happy to see the everyday life and celebration from the perspective of a Latvian family.

The organizers of Baltic International Summer School would like to thank all families, which were so kind to host summer school participants, and espacially Baiba Irbina, Anžela Jurāne-Brēmane, Arta Platace, Daiga Vētra, Daiga Oļhovka, Dīnija Danosa, Evija Cīrule, Monta Ozola and Raimonds Roberts.

Levan Makhashvili (Georgia) is amazed about the sauna traditions in Latvia: “Baibas Irbinas family was very kind and hospitable. I felt like at home in her house. I cannot even say in words how overjoyed I feel about the sauna in Latvia! First it was very strange to put on myself honey with salt because it is sticky, but after the feeling is wonderful!” Teodora Vassileva (Bulgary) is very happy how she together with Ganna Shevchenko (Ukraine) were hosted in Daiga Vētra’s family: “She was so worried about us, therefore we felt like a part of the family. We learn a lot abut the Latvia history and traditions and ofcourse I told about Bulgaria. The most I enjoyed our conversations. While visiting Evija Cīrule’s family, Yujie Zhu (China) saw Chineese traditional punkah with the painting and poem, a gift from her husband. Yujie revieled the meaning of the painting and translated the poem. It turned out that the poem is very romantic.

This year Baltic International Summer School will take place in Valmiera (Latvia), Daugavpils (Latvia), Narva (Estonia) and Zarasai (Lithuania) untill August 17. The focus of the summer school is “Communication. Integration. Technology.” At the moment all 32 participants are divided in two groups – one is learning about the local media in Narva, and the other – in Daugavpils and Zarasai. Participants will also have a chance to see several newspaper offices and meet with Latvian-, Estonian- and Russian-speaking editors and journalists in Narva, Daugavpils and Rīga. The goal of these visits is to examine how newspapers operate in cities with large national minority presence where more than one language is spoken. During the summer school, participants will produce several multimedia products.

The overall coordination of Baltic International Summer School is provided by Vidzeme University College but this year it is joined by two more co-organizers – Daugavpils University and Tartu University’s Narva College. Our friends and supporters this year are Latvian Ministry of Education and Science, Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, U.S. Embassy in Latvia, Valmiera City Council as well as private companies LETA Video, Diena, Latvian Mobile Telephone, Cēsu Alus, Valmieras Piens,Triāls, Multiklubs and Hansabanka. In Daugavpils our partners are newspapers Latgales Laiks, Ekspress Nedelja and Seycas, in Narva – Narvsjkaja gazeta, Viru Prospekt and Narvskaja Nedelja.

More information about Baltic International Summer School, lectures and program can be found at http://biss.va.lv.

Media contacts for extra information, interviews and visuals:
Kaspars Rūklis, Director of the Summer School – kaspars.ruklis@gmail.com, +371 2940-5048, or
Dana Čaiņikova, Public Relations Coordinator – dana.cainikova@gmail.com, +371 2934-1235