University: Riga Stradins University
Field of study: medicine
Study type: Other courses
In Germany, the medical and dental courses have been “overrun” for years and it is hardly possible to start studying without an excellent Abitur. Despite a decent average, I collected “ZVS / Hochschulstart.de-Waitzeit” for 4 years and tried many things, from drawing lots to applying for a place at a university. Fear of the additional financial burden and leaving family and friends behind have also contributed to delaying studying abroad as an alternative. Now I have successfully completed the first semester and all the doubts and worries have been removed. As in Germany, studying medicine in Riga is very learning-intensive and time-consuming, and yet it is exactly what I was looking for. Check mcat-test-centers.com to see which skills do the GMAT and GRE value.
The course is in English and most of the future fellow students are German, Swedes, Norwegians and Finns. Language concerns are unfounded and no one expects to speak or write English flawlessly. The professors and lecturers are not all able to speak better English than the students.
The university publishes a list of recommended literature for the beginning of the course. I can only advise against buying everything. In the first semester it is essential to have a good anatomy atlas. The other books are really unnecessary. At the beginning you also get a few books from the university, some of which are very good and sufficient. Most lecture material is made available online. Anatomy focuses on the skull, skeleton and muscles. The first Prometheus – General Anatomy and Movement System – covers the skeleton and musculature ideally for me and for the skull it is advisable to browse through the university library or look for alternative atlases. Here lies the great weakness of many German atlases.
On the outside, the university is really not a beauty, but it’s the inner values that count. Apart from the lectures, the lessons take place in small groups of about 10 people and the learning system is very schooled. There are regular tests, colloquia and exams at the end of the semester.
The regularity of the questions and the fact that failing the colloquium twice denies the exam are motivation for continuous learning and save a stressful time shortly before the exam.
There is a very family atmosphere among the students and there is no competition. Everything seems very personal, and celebrations are not neglected.
I spent the first 3 months in Hotel Riga “Green Apple” before I found a flat share. The “Green Apple” definitely scores with a great location right in the old town. There are plenty of shopping opportunities and it takes about 25 minutes to get to the university. The rooms are a normal size and everyone has to take care of their own cleanliness. There is a kitchen with stove, oven and refrigerators and you are provided with the essentials. A washing machine for the entire Green Apple is tight and you have to plan your laundry in advance. Everything else can be found on the website. The Green Apple is actually a recommendation for its location alone. It is not cheap in terms of price, but if you want to get to know your future fellow students,
The NB is less centrally located, but is only a 5-minute walk from the university. I haven’t stayed there, but the staff, rooms, and cleanliness seem better than the Green Apple. It’s a lot smaller and more family-friendly, and it’s a good start too.
After the first few months, most people will look around for their own apartment or flat share and you should take your time. The housing market in Riga is large and confusing at first. There are different offers in terms of price and there is a suitable apartment for every budget. I can only advise you not to rush the whole matter. Look at the apartments first. There are English websites that offer apartments and the agents usually speak good English. A major cost factor are the rising heating costs. The rent is rarely paid as a flat rate over the entire year. Today we had -30° C and the heaters run all day. The university is also happy to help with this and is available to help in an emergency.
The study is fee-based and the more students apply for such a study, the higher the financial effort to teach such a large number of students. Increasing tuition fees are the result and you have to be aware that you have to accept additional financial expenses.
There are several large banks in Riga. Swedbank is a Swedish bank, widely represented in Riga and covers what is needed. Applying for a bank card and online banking is possible in English and there are plenty of ATMs from Swedbank as well.
Prices in Riga vary greatly. If you want to shop cheaply, the large market is best suited for this. You can find anything there if you are willing to look for it. There are more than enough department stores and the prices are similar to the German ones. There is also a lot of information in the study guide and you can really find everything here. Internet and mobile phone providers are also widely represented and much cheaper than in Germany.
Riga is truly a beautiful city and studying abroad is an exciting experience. I can only recommend taking this step and starting your studies. MicroEdu was always open to my questions and I always felt very well advised during the application process. The International Office of Riga Stradins University is also a good place to go and they really do take care of students’ affairs. As I was advised, I can only pass it on and recommend using the Internet as a communication platform and using Facebook, for example, as the start of group communication.
Don’t let your worries intimidate you too much and try it. It’s really worth it and the higher semesters are also there to help.