University: Riga Stradins University
Field of study: medicine
Study type: Other courses
I’m 22 years old and I’ve been studying medicine at Riga Stradins University for two semesters now. I’ll just start my review from the beginning. Check liuxers.com to see vocational training in France.
I applied to the university in question via Collage Contact in the summer of 2010 and was accepted a week later. The Collage Contact team helped me a lot in compiling the application documents and was always available by phone if I wanted to ask one of my many questions.
I then flew to Riga on August 22, 2010 to take part in the introductory week. This week turned out to be quite useful for me as I was able to socialize with other newcomers, got to know the city and the university and attended some meetings organized by the university for freshmen.
I took a room in the “Green Apple”, a hotel in Riga’s old town. Many students live in this hotel, especially at the beginning of a new semester. I was assigned a buddy for the introductory week, a Latvian student who showed me around the city, university, bus and tram connections and accompanied me on excursions. In retrospect, I am very grateful for that, because I felt a bit lost at the beginning.
On the subject of accommodation, I would like to advise you against the student hostel. The conditions there are terrible and you get the wrong idea of how you will spend the next few years in Riga. Personally, I moved into a shared apartment very quickly and am very happy with it. Housing is not difficult to find as it is plentiful and reasonably priced. At this point I advise you to look for apartments early, as they say first come, first served.
Regarding the course itself: As you know, the classes are held in English. I can well imagine that this fact worries some people, but I can reassure you here. The professors and teachers themselves speak rather mediocre English and no better is expected of you. You should certainly be able to speak and write English, but you don’t have to be an ace in this subject. Your language skills will improve a lot in a short time anyway, just by getting to know fellow international students.
The course is very time consuming, you will have to learn a lot right from the start. In subjects such as anatomy, things really get going right away, although not all subjects start right away at the beginning of a semester, you gradually get more, and so the learning material piles up. In terms of content, most subjects are easy, the hurdles to be overcome are more memorization than understanding. From my own experience I can say that my own receptivity is constantly improving and I can learn much faster and more effectively today than I could a year ago. Don’t worry too much about the workload, those who work make it through, those who are lazy don’t. The first two years are purely theoretical, I don’t really know what will come after that. My above “Fun” rating of 2, 0 refers to the course of study, more from the interesting factor of the respective subject, less from the actual fun, because honestly, how much fun can learning be? Definitely not 2.0.
Most of the professors are competent, nice and helpful, but here, as everywhere else, there are such and such. For complaints and questions, a very helpful and friendly team is at your side. Maris Ginters and Simona Gurbo are the contact point for international students. You will get to know both during the introductory week.
Tip: Don’t immediately buy all the books in the book list that you will receive. All you really need to start with is an anatomy atlas. When buying one, just make sure that the label is in Latin and not in English. You will learn the terms in Latin.
To the city and leisure. Riga is very beautiful. More in summer than in winter, still beautiful. I got to know winter first and it was cold and dark. In January we had up to -29 °C, sounds bad, but it’s not. If you have a decent jacket and, above all, warm shoes, the daily trip to the university is manageable.
Riga is a dream in summer. I recommend you visit the beach! Nothing beats a refreshing dip in the sea at +30 °C in the shade.
The city itself offers countless possibilities. You have a large selection of restaurants, I think there are three cinemas, which are extremely cheap compared to Germany. All films are in English with Latvian subtitles.
Those who like to go out in the evening also have a wide range of bars and clubs that are more than less student-friendly. You won’t lack opportunities to pursue certain hobbies, such as sports, but rather time. This and many more allow me to rate the “fun” factor with a total of 2.0 and I can finally say that I really enjoy living and studying here in Riga.