The situation in the country and the world is the way it is – we have restrictions, people are getting sick, and safety measures are developing in what seems minutes. The situation of course also requires action from the university side; thus, it is possible to see different rules and requirements for attendance at different universities within one or many countries.

During these difficult times, SSE Riga provides the opportunity for hybrid study in its Bachelor programme in Economics and Business. This means that you can choose either online or onsite depending on your preferences or health situation. I myself have studied online for around a year and only recently started to use the opportunity to go to school onsite, so I have the experience from both sides, and will lay out the pros and cons of this format.

On the plus side:

+ You can spend more time with family or – as I was – spending time babysitting :)

+ You can save time on driving from home to school, thus managing more tasks – I saved exactly 1h 40 min every day

+ Online gives the possibility to do more tasks at once, such as listening to some activity organized by the Student Association (Alumni Screw-up stories) and do some additional tasks (create a poster for the Committee)

+ Most of the courses provide recordings, which you can watch afterwards

+ In exams you have a more familiar environment, so less stress if you choose online studies

+ I am working while studying and it is easier to manage both if you choose online studies

+ You can wake up 5 min before the lecture/ seminar and even manage to have breakfast!

On the minus side:

- Many activities (before lockdown - teambuilding) happen onsite, and if you have chosen not to show a certificate you cannot attend them

- If you have shown a certificate, you most often cannot switch from onsite to online if attendance is mandatory.

- You lack communication if you choose online studies (friends, discussions, having fun)

- You cannot create a network online as well as people onsite (I know fewer people than my friends onsite)

- You cannot create personal connections with lecturers if you study online

- Every failure feels tragic and it feels like you are the only one failing, but onsite it looks different – many people face the same problems as you do.

- It is harder to keep attention up to the same level as it is onsite

Overall, it is completely up to the individual – one is more introverted, one is more extrovert, one needs a quiet place, someone else needs people around them to stay motivated and feel better; however, it is beneficial that the university provides this option and respects individual decisions about their safety measures. I like to study online and already am getting pretty used to it, but I also miss seeing people around, talking, and simply having fun, so everything has its limitations.


Photo credit: Volodymyr Kyko, SSE Riga student