Work and Travel in Latvia
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN LATVIA FOR TRAVELLERS
Latvia is a popular destination for both bachelor parties and for backpackers visiting the Baltic States and moving into Poland. But the capital of Riga is about so much more than drinking heavily and general debauchery. The country as a whole has so much more to offer.
If you want to work and travel in Latvia we’re going to show you everything you need to know about the country. Our travel guide to Latvia (https://www.lonelyplanet.com/latvia) will be the only travel guide you need.
1. Distribute Supplies in Latvia
First of all, the concept of volunteerism in Latvia is a new concept, so potential roles are limited. But with a bit of research, you can find plenty of work.
One of the volunteering opportunities in Latvia is to help charities as they distribute food and clothing to the poor. This role is simple and it will connect you to the places where tourists traditionally don’t go. You’ll be able to connect with locals and you’re doing a job that adds real value to people in the area.
2. Work in a Hostel in Latvia
Latvia’s mainly known for the immense amount of backpackers that flock here every year, buoyed by the cheap flights from across Europe. Working in a hostel is a viable way to work in Latvia and extend your time here.
Take note, though, that many of the hostels here are designed for people who want to party. As a volunteer, you may be expected to do more than mere cleaning. Many hostels hire volunteers who can also organise pub crawls, game nights, and more.
These volunteer jobs in Latvia are about creating a great atmosphere in the hostel.
3. Volunteer in Orphanages in Latvia
Latvia has a lot of orphanages in the country. With the lack of volunteering opportunities in Latvia, this is one of the few that you can participate in.
Thankfully, English is one of the most widely taught languages in the country, so it’s not necessary to be able to speak Latvian or Russian.
Your job in an orphanage will often involve spending time with the children, including taking them on trips to go canoeing, skiing, and more. It’s also helpful if you’re a native English speaker because you’ll be able to help them with their English.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR LATVIA
What you need to know about Latvia is that it’s part of the Schengen Zone (https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/schengen-visa-countries-list/). Anyone in the UK (until Brexit) and anyone within the European Union (EU) can work and travel in the country for as long as they like without applying for any form of visa.
Citizens of North America, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand are able to get a Schengen visa when they arrive in the zone. This entitles them to 90 days (https://smartraveller.gov.au/bulletins/Pages/europe_schengen.aspx) in the whole of the Schengen Zone. Afterwards, you will be required to leave for at least 90 days before you can obtain another one.
For most other nationalities, they will need to apply for a Schengen visa in advance (https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/borders-and-visas/visa-policy/how_to_apply_en). This gives them the same benefits as those who can get one when they arrive.
This policy applies to South Africans, Russians, and Chinese citizens.
It’s widely expected that a full e-visa system with an equivalent to the American ESTA will be going live in the next few years to make the process of applying for a Schengen visa even easier.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN LATVIA
Latvia enjoys the classic four seasons of Europe. Spring time is the perfect time for a homestay. There are many farms in Latvia that actively encourage foreign volunteers to come. In exchange for free food and accommodation, you will be expected to work on a farm.
It’s a great way to meet real locals and get a taste of normal life in Latvia.
The summer season is by far the best time to travel in Latvia. You’ll have a range of different roles to choose from. The main seasonal skill required is hostel workers. You’ll be able to choose from a lot of hostels in Riga and elsewhere.
Many of the rural hostels are only open during the summer season, so if you want to work and travel in Latvia and its rural areas this is the time to do it. You’ll see a side of the country that the majority never ever get to see.
Furthermore, you’ll be able to take advantage of summer camps. These summer camps are designed for children’s school holidays. A lot of them are sports camps, but you can also find language camps, theatre camps, and a variety of other arts and crafts camps.
Some of them are in the remote areas of Latvia, whereas others are held in community centres in major cities.
Autumn is another good time for volunteering opportunities in Latvia. You’ll have the chance to teach English to young Latvians in schools.
Many families will want to employ private tutors. This may be as part of a homestay or a few hours every week. You’ll find it beneficial to possess a TEFL qualification, but it’s far from necessary, particularly if you’re a native speaker working on a private basis.
Winter isn’t recommended for travel in Latvia. It can be difficult to find work in Latvia because temperatures can be bitterly cold. There are occasionally opportunities in ski resorts, but the majority of these jobs tend to go to locals, unless you have a lot of qualifications.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN LATVIA
Latvia has a long history of foreign travellers. Its association with the European Union (EU) means that there are no problems with foreigners who want to volunteer here. Countries like Latvia are some of the easiest countries to work in for people who are working and travelling for the first time.
Plus the lack of a language barrier means you’ll be able to connect with the vast majority of Latvians you come into contact with.
Are you ready to work and travel in Latvia?
- Edited on Dec 10 2018 by Marichka