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News created - 23.08.2013

This August, the 15th Baltic International Summer School (BISS) hosted by Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences (ViA) came to a successful end. This year’s summer school consisted of two parallel programmes: Erasmus IP “Glocalizing Development: Development Perspectives of Rural Regions and Small Towns in Globalized World” and “International Tourism and Event Management” (ITEM).

Spread across the two programmes were 63 local and international students from 17 different countries. In cooperation with international lecturers and local entrepreneurs, each programme was full of interactive lectures and workshops on key topics throughout the Baltic States. In addition to this, students had the opportunity to learn the Latvian language, immerse themselves in Latvian culture and form new networks from around the world.

Both programmes also arranged several field trips in Vidzeme region, including: an informal meeting with the Vice-Mayor of Cēsis, Martins Malcenieks; a tour of Valmiera Museum of Regional History and Art; a day in Vestiena Parish and rural Ape; excursions to Valmiermuiža beer brewery; a tour of Sigulda Bobsleigh Track and the barefoot nature trail in Valmiera. The field trips were designed for students to experience Latvia’s ingenuity, natural beauty and rich history, all while observing the country’s tourism development from rural, town and city perpectives.

ITEM students also had the pleasure of visiting a secret Soviet bunker in within the territory of the rehabilitation centre “Līgatne”. With the mission to find “Object X”, the students were able to see the original underground equipment preserved to this day.

It was the ITEM students’ task to evaluate the events in Valmiera City Festival, providing their practical recommendations and advice for future celebrations. Also, every BISS student participated in the Festival’s celebrations by performing traditional (and some, not so traditional) songs and dances for the people of Valmiera to enjoy. From Ukraine to Turkey, this was an opportunity for the participants to share their cultures and learn about others they may not have encountered before.

Over the past 15 years, there have been more than 330 students from all over the world who have participated in BISS. It is the project’s aim to promote Valmiera, Latvia and the Baltic States as a tourist destination for international people and, from the continuing success of the summer school, it is clear that this goal is being met.

BISS course “International tourism and event management” is funded as a part EU Lifelong learning programme project “Master’s in International Tourism and Event Management/ITEM” with support from the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Latvia and Valmiera City Council. The course “Glocalizing Development: Development Perspectives of Rural Regions and Small Towns in Globalized World” is being implemented as an Erasmus Intensive Programme within Lifelong learning programme.

Gabrielle Westhead

PR Assistant for BISS 2013



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