On Wednesday, November 9, Erasmus+ and exchange students from Ventspils University College (VUC) went on a day trip to visit the third largest city in Latvia – Liepaja. In total, 22 students and three staff members participated in this trip.There were many exciting activities planned. First the students visited nearby beer brewery “Užavas alus”. They learned from the guide about the 22-year long company’s history and the way company grew from four employees to 25. The guide also explained how the process of brewing happens when you make beer only from four ingredients – water, hops, yeast, and malt. Julian Geiger, an Erasmus+ student from Germany described the experience, “I liked the brewery. It was interesting to see how they are brewing the Užavas beer. It was also very nice to taste the unfiltered beer.”
In the windy city Liepaja, students were taken to Karsotas prison. It was built over 100 years ago and for the majority of its existence it served as a military prison. Now it is open for guided public excursions and it is the only military prison in Europe that is opened for tourists. Students could experience the living condition that soldiers had to face every day and learned interesting historic facts, saw military themed expositions and could walk the halls that Soviet soldiers once walked. Another Erasmus+ student from Germany Tillmann Schmitz said, “We left the brewery heading towards the military prison Karosta. This was a very exciting experience since we saw and directly felt how the Soviet soldiers were treated. Personally it made me thoughtful.”
Later students had an international evening together with Erasmus+ students from Liepaja University. Students presented their countries and were introduced to Turkey, France and Lithuania. Afterwards they tasted food they had prepared, danced Turkish dances, listened to music from other countries and got to know each other better.
Trips like these are important for the exchange students as they allow them to interact with each other more, but most importantly students are introduced to Latvia’s history, culture and it widens their understanding of Latvia and Latvian people, so that when the students return to their home countries, they can encourage other students to come study in Latvia, Ventspils.