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An Oxford student on a Russian year abroad in Daugavpils – first impressions and exploring

An Oxford student on a Russian year abroad in Daugavpils

Hi, I’m Jonny. I study Russian at the University of Oxford, and I’ve just arrived in Daugavpils for the start of my year abroad. I chose to come to Daugavpils for the first few months of my year abroad because I wanted to find a job and was impressed by the internship opportunities provided by “Learn Russian in the EU”.

Since Daugavpils is a fully Russian-speaking city, this seemed like the perfect opportunity for me use my Russian in a professional environment. Furthermore, as Latvia is in the EU, the application process was far simpler compared to my prior experiences navigating Russian bureaucracy. I was lucky enough to be offered a position in the Mark Rothko Art Centre, which I’m really excited about.

Before coming to Latvia I received the unfortunate news that I would need to self-isolate for 14 days upon my arrival as a result of rising Covid-19 cases in the UK, which had the knock-on effect of delaying the start of my internship by two weeks. Luckily, under the terms of my quarantine I’m allowed to walk around outside as long as I keep a two-metre distance, so I’ve been using the period to do some exploring. On my first day here I had a wander around the centre, which I found to be really pleasant. Lots of the buildings date from the Imperial period, and the city’s many parks help create a sense of space. Yesterday I walked down the promenade along the river Daugava, along the side of which are a number of industrial buildings dating from the Soviet period. I’m a big fan of Soviet architecture, so this was very interesting to see. My next plan is to go further afield to the district known as ‘Chemistry’, which I’m told is full of Soviet era apartment buildings.

An Oxford student on a Russian year abroad in Daugavpils – first impressions and exploring

Overall, I’m really pleased I’ve decided to come here, and I’m looking forward to getting stuck into my year abroad properly once this quarantine period is over.

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