Sabbatical in Riga

Hi, I am new here - and will move to Riga early next year. Taking a break from my ICT job in S'pore. Main things would be to indulge in writing, learning music, language and learning dance. My puppy will be with me and we are looking forward to making friends, it will be a bonus if we can meet people with dogs for playdates. She is a Japanese spitz. If there are animal welfare organizations here, I am willing to volunteer my time to help out.


Hi Mistypie!

Welcome to ;)


Hey there.  Welcome. 

I'm in Riga too.  We haven't been organizing too much, but shout out when you get here and see what's going on.

Are you ready for winter here?

Hi Jaxxed and Armand,

Thks for the welcome :) I will be sure to do that once I arrive!

No, not yet ready, I know it's probably very cold. Will prob come in mar or April when it's less cold. My dog will be able to travel too, then. ;)

Do you think it's useful to pick up Russian before I come over to Riga? Or is Latvian more useful? Or will just EL do? I am wondering what the food labels are like in the supermarkets. Are they in Latvan or Russian? Coz there is a Russian food store near my place in Malta where I used to live, and well I couldn't understand anything.

I think I have about 3 mths to prepare before I head over.

Thks! :)


The LV versus RU language question is a sensitive one.  There is still some cultural tension about the topic.

I learn LV as the family here speaks Latvian, but there are very few LV speakers who don't also speak RU.  In Riga it is rare to have someone who doesn't speak LV.
In Riga, about 1/4 of the population speak enough English to converse, some speak better English than I do.

Food took some time to get used, but not much.  Now I can understand most of the labels, and when not, I just use Google Translate.  A lot of the products on the shelf these days are imported, so the packaging isn't as usefull as the shelf listing, which is almost always in LV.

The Latvian language itself is fantastic, but hard to learn coming from English/Latin.  It is in itself, relatively unique, with historic roots.

The Russian/Greek (Cyrillic) alphabet is also unique.  If you can read latin languages, then RU is just confusing to sound out (similar letters have different sounds.)  It is best to at least learn the simple greetings in RU, in order to respond in public (to old ladies on the bus.)

jaxxed wrote:

It is best to at least learn the simple greetings in RU, in order to respond in public (to old ladies on the bus.)

ahahaha this is so cute :) yes, you are absolutely right - you can get by with just Latvian, but some Russian will definitely give you a priority. You don't even need to learn writing or reading, just some conversational language.

Food labels are in LV/RUS, but since most products are imported, you can find ENG writing on them quite often. I am paranoid about ingredients and read labels very carefully.